During times of stress, everyone responds differently. Some of us laugh, some of us go into denial, some of us get agitated, some of us panic, some of us get to work.
If you’re feeling a bit all over the place, I want to talk about how stress affects each of us differently and why these reactions are coming up. As you start to see how we each respond to stress, you can also start to see how the weird ways your coworkers and partners are reacting might actually be a perfectly normal response… it’s just different than how you respond to stress.
This podcast episode is another brief(ish) episode recorded from our studio in New York City during the March 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of this recording, my family and I are in self-isolation in New York City and we have not left the apartment in 14 days. It’s been interesting, to say the least! You will hear noises of my children in the background, and yes, there are times when I completely lose my train of thought. This is the new normal right now, and I’m right there alongside all of you.
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, fatigued, panicked, irritated, inspired, or like you need to crack inappropriate jokes, you’re not alone. Feelings are big right now and get magnified during times of stress.
Listen to Episode #148
A few tips on dealing with feelings:
- Listen to them and acknowledge them. Know that they don’t want to stay forever, they just want to be heard right now.
- If you feel like you need to avoid your feelings for a moment and you have stress coping reactions—avoidance, eating, comfort, television, etc—this is called “buffering” and we all do it. See if you can take a break from buffering every so often and dip in to what you’re feeling and acknowledge what’s going on.
- Describe your feelings as physical symptoms—describe where they are in your body and what your body does with those feelings.
- Use the “feelings cheat sheet” — it’s a way to name your feelings.
- Start a journaling practice—it can be so incredibly soothing and helpful for the mind.
- Try a body scan meditation.
Also, only do ONE of these tips and that’s enough.
Most of all, know that your feelings are a normal reaction to stress and that you don’t have to DO anything right now to get rid of them. You can simply feel them and seek to understand them.
Beautiful and important article on grief and discomfort from Harvard Business Review: That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.