People who deal well with struggle, don’t beat themselves up if they’re not dealing with things well. They accept that some days are better than others. They show themselves some compassion.
Try not to judge other people’s reactions either. People need empathy and validation. Don’t say things like “be positive”, that “it’s not that bad”, that “this person has it way worse” or that “you shouldn’t feel like that”. It’s much better to say things like, “I understand why you’re scared, I’m scared too”, “this is so frustrating” or “I’m finding it hard to focus too, now that things are so uncertain.” When we validate and name the emotion, people can move into action faster.
Some days we’re going to experience negative emotions and have bad days. We need to practice acceptance for that and show compassion. We don’t want to spiral, so try balance these negative feelings with things that bring us joy.
At Tower, some of our team have found that writing a list of things that we enjoy can help. The list is a combination of big things (taking 4 hours to cook a delicious meal in the slow cooker) to small things (making a pot of tea). Whatever it was, we took our time and enjoyed the process.
When we made pots of tea, we treated ourselves and opted for loose leaf, letting it steep. We chose our favourite mug and sometimes, we added a biscuit on the side. We focused on things like the flavour of the tea and biscuit’s texture. Taking time to notice these things, allows you to appreciate the smaller things, and keeps you in the moment.
Our list included things that require a lot of energy (dancing, doing a workout video) and some that almost require no energy at all (watching a movie, having a bath). This way, there will be things that you can enjoy no matter what your energy levels are at.
Dr Fraser said to always nurture your bad feelings. Acceptance means acknowledging that you feel bad right now and that’s okay. Even though you feel like this, focus on positive behaviour. When you start to fight these feelings, you just get stuck inside your head. When you accept how you’re feeling and give yourself permission to feel that way, you can move on to taking constructive action. Otherwise, you’re not only dealing with the situation, but you’re beating yourself up about feeling so bad. We’re going through a global pandemic. It’s understandable that we’re all experiencing negative emotions. Don’t fall into the trap of “I must feel good before I can behave constructively”.