The world has been in a complete state of distress, practically since mid February. The worst part is that things only seem to be getting worse. It’s like every time good news comes, there’s worse news to follow. Watching the news has become utterly depressing, and the constant struggle to balance the “work from home life” with our “personal life” gets harder every day. The stress is piling up, and the morale is definitely low. However, everything happens for a reason and I believe that we can learn a lot about how to deal with stress from this situation. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this topic recently and it feels great to finally share them in words. I hope this post can make you feel better about the stress you are feeling during this time.
Back in February, when all of this escalated, I truly felt like I hit rock bottom. School was getting hard, extracurricular activities were becoming demanding, and my drive to be productive was negative. Can anyone else relate?
I finally lost it when the study abroad trip to Italy that my best friend and I had planned for months got cancelled. All of the time, money, and planning we spent to get this trip figured out was gone. I was angry and confused.
I was talking with a friend about the whole situation, but made a point to say that I wasn’t that upset because my problems were miniscule compared to people in the world who had it way worse. In my mind I was thinking “Okay, it sucks that my study abroad trip got cancelled, but is it fair for me to complain about that when there are literally thousands of people dying every day from this virus?”
And do you want to know what my friend said?
She said “You actually have every right to be upset about this. It’s all relative, and everyone’s rock bottom is different. Being humble is a great trait, but if you’re too humble to the point that you don’t allow yourself to express feelings about things that make you sad, you’ll never be able to find happiness.”
That woke me up. She was entirely right. I realized how notorious I was for doing this. Yes, our problems may be miniscule compared to those of someone else’s, and we should be doing our part to lift those people up in prayer, donations, help, etc. as much as we possibly can. We should be thankful for what we have and always spread love and positivity. However, that does not mean that we shouldn’t show emotion toward our own low points.
One key to improving mental health and our overall state of stress is acknowledging our thoughts and feelings. Brushing them away because we feel guilty about them will never allow us to fully recover. Pray about it. Cry about it. Complain about it (within reason). Laugh about it. Do whatever you need to do to get the sadness and anger off your chest. Because if you don’t, your cup will run dry, and you will hit rock bottom.
Rock bottom for you may look completely different than rock bottom for someone else. It doesn’t mean that their problems are superior to yours, or that yours don’t deserve an emotional reaction. It all goes back to our tendency as human beings to be selfless and humble. And don’t get me wrong those are amazing qualities to have! But, know that it is perfectly normal, and okay to feel sorry for yourself sometimes.
Never feel guilty for acknowledging your emotions and what is going on in your mind (always within reason of course).
So yes, if this unprecedented situation has brought new burdens into your life, you have every right to be upset.
And, if the virus has taken away something that you looked forward to like a concert, a trip, visiting a friend, graduation, etc., you are perfectly entitled to be upset about it as well.
We’re all going through a tough, unknown time together. Everyone has been affected differently and things are changing rapidly. Remember that everyone’s rock bottom is different, and we should be lifting each other up with kindness and sympathy no matter the inconveniences that we experience: big or small.