In the era of COVID-19, we have had to contend with planned events being disrupted. Even as we move into "reopening," it's disheartening when birthday parties, sports games, weddings, graduations, and funerals are cancelled, postponed, or otherwise rescheduled due to current events. Rather than avoiding disappointment and having something to look forward to, I ask you to consider being present with the emotions that arise when something doesn’t work out. Although there is pain in experiencing discomfort and sadness, these are fundamental human emotions that help foster and confirm one’s humanity. Crying at the loss of spending time with people you care about or being angry because an event that took months in planning is now being put off are healthy feelings to experience. In my own life, I have found that feeling my feelings is valuable, whether they are expected due to current events or spontaneous because of a show I watch taking an unexpected direction. I remember that making space for emotions by experiencing them is vital to moving through an adverse circumstance. If accessing or experiencing emotions is difficult for you, consider trying these approaches to getting back in touch with yourself:
Watch a movie or TV show that you know will make you laugh or cry.
Read a book you remember makes you smile or pause in reflection; try reading it out loud when possible.
Call a friend and reminisce about a past outing/vacation you had together.
Pull out some art supplies and draw/make a feeling.
Play a favorite song and dance around your room.
Try a new recipe that involves your hands: I’m a fan of pizza dough because part of the process is allowing the dough to rise, seeing the magic of yeast in action, and the wonderful feeling of kneading dough.
Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
Thank you for your interest in our Monday Mental Health Moments. Join our mailing list for a weekly newsletter on various mental health topics, and information about upcoming groups or workshops. No spam, we promise!