It’s OK to be tired. It’s also OK to be angry…or numb.
Whether you are a front-line worker, a law enforcement officer, or a school teacher. Whether you are a person of color or a White individual heavily involved in ally efforts. Whether you hold many or none of these identities. Regardless of where you fall, it’s OK to be feeling what you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way on how to feel.
It’s OK to cry, to yell, or to hide away in your room. It’s also OK to laugh, have hope, and be energized.
There is A LOT going on with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and political unrest happening on an ongoing basis. So, do yourself a favor and give yourself a break when it comes to how you think you “should” be feeling. You are feeling what you are feeling – and to be honest, it might be some combination of all of the above – and that is valid. Your truth is yours.
I firmly believe that we are all doing the best we can right now despite experiencing a wide variety of ongoing stressors. These stressors may be threatening our physical safety, but they can also be threatening the world as we know it. We process both physical and emotional stressors the same way and both can feel overwhelming. So it really IS OK to be feeling exactly WHAT you are feeling WHEN you are feeling it.
You might be thinking “OK, that’s great Dr. Rachel, but what am I supposed to do with that?”
Honestly? Exactly that. Do your best to go with your emotional flow and be kind to yourself. Positive self-talk and self-encouragement are a necessity right now. This answer is “simple”, but not “easy”, especially if our emotional rollercoaster impedes our ability to work or care for others in a way we used to be able to. Like any other skill, self-compassion takes practice.
So, here is an example to practice:
I am feeling ______ right now. This feeling may or may not make sense to me, but I trust that I can handle it. Just because __________ (some other person) does not feel this way does not mean my feeling is any less valid. I will ask myself what this feeling is trying to tell me and give it what it needs. With everything that is going on around me, I am doing the best I can.
Feel free to modify the above example in a way that fits for you. After all, you are in control of how you talk to yourself. All I am here for is to remind you that whatever you are feeling, whenever you are feeling it, is OK. You are right where you need to be. The best thing you can do for yourself is be compassionate toward yourself and that feeling. Hang in there everyone!