The year 2020 has been anything but boring. With a pandemic, an election, as well as general stressors, there has been a lot on our plate recently. During stressful times like this, it is important to check in on yourself. While in isolation, you may find yourself experience a large array of emotions over just a short period of time. It is important to remember that this is completely normal and can be healthy, as long as you allow yourself to feel those emotions fully. When we ignore or belittle our own emotions, we are telling ourself that what we are feeling is not true. However, the emotions and feelings you have are there for a reason and moreover need to be processed in order for you to grow and learn from your bad days. I find it is very helpful during this time to practice self-care techniques. These techniques vary by individual, so it is important to find what works for you. Many people practice meditation, yoga, journal, or even just take a day where you focus entirely on yourself.
While it is of utmost importance that you take care of yourself during these times, it is also important and can be helpful to check-in on loved ones. These may be people you find yourself worrying about due to changes you’ve seen, or they could be individuals who seem like they are doing just fine. Either way, it is beneficial to reach out to others. When reaching out you should be ready to listen, that is the most important step to helping others. Allow them to speak about their own experiences and emotions at this time, this also allows them to practice some self-reflection during your conversation. If you are unsure of how to approach the conversation, I urge you to take the simple “how are you?” and expand on it. For example, ask a more specific questions such as, “how have you been balancing your time between school, work, family?”, or “how have you been taking care of yourself these days?”. These questions provide a more precise inquiry but also allow the individual to interpret it in their own way and answer with a completely open mind. Once you open this door to conversation with someone you care about, it allows for more progressive and intimate conversations that can provide some ease during these trying times.
Right now, it is important to take care of your own wellbeing, and sometimes taking care of yourself involves checking-in on others. Doing so can help you realize that you are not alone and can provide motivation to keep moving forward. Allow yourself to truly feel and validate your emotions as well as the people’s emotions around you.
Caroline Albera is a senior at the University of Delaware studying Human Services with a minor in psychology. She is currently interning at MHA with the future goal of becoming a social worker.