On flattening your emotional curve
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Pushing on brave-faced towards Christmas amid the ceaseless covid change would be tough under socially humane conditions. I believe continuing to do so amid a rotating version of in-off-out-on-wtf-bleurgh restrictions is a high-risk strategy.
In other words - while ignoring your excess emotion on the basis that a) this will all be over soon or b) others are worse off so my feelings don't count - may work short-term, but sticking to it indefinitely has a potential sell-by date called burnout. Not good at all. Fair doo's - many are navigating abysmal situations but that doesn't invalidate your own human nature.
Ultimately, we're hard-wired to feel and the ongoing barrage of loss loss change loss wtf loss uncertainty etc - means that feeling low anxious frustrated sad embarrassed disappointed guilty angry (or all) at some stage is completely normal - and totally natural. Denying these emotions is effectively to lie to yourself, and chances a deeper emotional low in the future if you stick at it.
The simplest way to reduce the possibility of overwhelm is to make space to notice any changes you see/feel in yourself and find ways to share and express your experience of them.
Flatness, loss of attention or general fatigue/apathy may be early warning signs of approaching overwhelm - acknowledging them, and the feelings that surround them to someone you trust (and perhaps asking them to do the same to you) can be a powerful antidote. If speaking them out loud feels too much to begin, you could try writing them down - the next best way to untangle complex thoughts and feelings to lighten your load.
Allowing these moments of self and reflected compassion will work as a natural vaccination, helping to flatten your emotional curve and supercharge your potential to reach spring in a hopeful place.
In addition the 3 techniques below should help strengthen your emotional immunity as we approach the end of such an extraordinary year;
A: A 20-minute expectation-free walk to start and end your day. No phone. No headphones. Just fresh air and time to get back to your 'self' - with zero expectations.
B: Ration your news intake. Modern media is a conflict zone of clickbait designed to trigger your fearful parts and we're simply not designed to process the world's problems in real-time. Limit your consumption to an amount that doesn't leave you feeling jaded.
C: End your day with something light/funny. Sleep is an early casualty of overwhelm - if the last thing you consume before bed makes you smile, it releases melatonin which regulates healthy sleep and increases your chance of getting some restorative zzzz's.
Ultimately - keeping your emotions bottled up - makes life harder than it already is.
Pausing to express some will relieve pressure and hopefully allow more space for smiley-faced Christmas cheer.