Well, the past two weeks have been quite the roller coaster. Social distancing became an everyday phrase, schools closed, the governor issued a stay at home order, and as of today, even the parks are closed. The events of this week have triggered intense emotions as households have been affected in various ways. 

Anxiety, anger, fear, boredom, and grief are all emotions that may be showing up in your home. Here are four steps to help yourself (and/or others) manage intense emotions:

  1. Identify and name the emotion. According to a 2007 UCLA study, just naming a negative emotion can help us reduce distress. For more on the study, click here. For a chart of emotions, click here.
  2. Look for the root cause. Is it uncertainty about the future, financial stress, suddenly living in close quarters 24/7 with family members, constant news/information checking, not sure how much longer the TP at your house will last even with rationing? All of these?  Right now, uncertainty about the future is sure to be at the root of a lot of emotions.
  3. Be in the present, the here and now. Ask yourself: What can I do in this moment that will be helpful? Can I accept the current situation (uncertainty) and focus on what I can do in this moment? Do I need to practice self-care right now so that I can better show up for myself and those around me? Self-care looks very different for everyone but should help you feel better able to cope with emotions by bringing you into the Here and Now.

Examples of self-care include:

  • A 5-minute mindfulness app exercise (Headspace, Calm, etc)
  • 10 minutes of yoga or gentle stretching with an online community or by yourself
  • A two-hour moratorium on news or social media checking — put the phone down and walk away slowly : )
  • Baking
  • Working on a puzzle (you know, the old fashioned kind)
  • Playing an instrument
  • Singing along to your favorite music or watching a video of people around the world singing together across balconies (Italy, Boston, etc.)
  • Downloading an online book or audiobook and immersing yourself in someone else’s story (I’ll be listing some titles on facebook and Instagram this week)
  • Watching a comedy show (please skip any heavy or catastrophe related themes for now)
  • Engaging in any physical activity such as vacuuming, push ups, or watering plants
  • _______________ (fill in the blank)