The emotional rollercoaster of COVID-19: 5 ways to cope with the flatness, the curve balls and everything in between

One day, I wake up feeling fine. The sun is shining, the mood is good, the kids are pleasant.

The next day is grey from the start. It’s pouring with rain outside, tempers are frayed, and patience is thin.

The past few months have brought a perpetual series of ups and downs for us all. But when you continually experience such extremes, it leaves you feeling as if you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, doesn’t it?

In Northern Ireland we know all too well what it is like to experience every season of weather in one day. But now we know what it’s like to feel every emotion going in 24 hours as well! – From anxiety about the safety of our loved ones, to feeling isolated from friends, to frustrations with people who aren’t following guidelines, to joy when we get a thoughtful letter in the post, to comfort when we chat with grandparents over FaceTime.

Here’s how I’ve learned to cope with my own pendulum swings in the last few weeks:

1. Be thankful for the great days

We have made some beautiful memories since the pandemic began. From planting shrubs, to collecting shells, to picnic lunches in the garden, to leisurely family walks around our neighbourhood. Nothing can snatch those memories away. In moments of frustration, I savour on them like I would my last piece of chocolate. Gratitude is a great source of joy!

2. Acknowledge the bad days

It keeps our feet on the ground to acknowledge our human flaws and frailties. We’ve cried our tears. We’ve had our disagreements. We’ve felt the stress of cancelled holidays, uncertainties about work and church, and navigating different boundaries and expectations. But as one good friend advised, ‘it’s only when you allow yourself to feel the feelings that you can move on from them.’

3. Take note of the ‘blah’ days

You know what I mean by a blah day? Days when you’re so drained you don’t know what to be at, who to call, what household job to start with, what work task to attempt. Days when you feel like a toy that is running out of batteries and whose music is going flat. It’s normal to have blah days once in a while, but take note if they are becoming more and more frequent. No one can live in a constant state of overwhelm. You may need to reach out for more outside support.

4. Grow in the scary days

These are days when the gravity of the situation hits you. When you hear of a friend getting sick. When you know of someone who has died. When your little people run a fever. These days break your heart and test your resilience. But they also have the potential to develop faith and perseverance in you. Don’t discount them as write offs or try to avoid them at all costs. Walk through them knowing that they will pass, that they will form character in you, and that hope is never out of the picture.

5. Learn from each and every day

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all this it’s that extremes are completely normal- so many people are feeling the same way! So please don’t feel you are odd if you’re laughing one minute and crying the next.

This time has included every conceivable emotion, from grief, fear and anxiety to elation, inspiration and hope.

We’ve witnessed people at their worst- looting shelves, violent behaviour on the streets, and committing racial injustice.

But we’ve also seen kindness, generosity, sacrifice and neighbourliness like never before.

We’ve seen people deep in despair, but we’ve also witnessed the brightest hope shining through at every juncture.

Days come in every variety, just like people. So-

1. Be thankful for the good days

2. Acknowledge the bad days

3. Take note of the ‘blah’ days

4. Grow in the scary days

5. Learn from each and every day

… and we’ll all get through this together!

H xx

Published by Hilary

Mum of two girls 👩‍👧‍👧 positive inspiration 💡 parenting 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 health 🏃‍♀️ life 💓 faith 📖

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