We’re All Struggling—It’s Okay to Share How You Feel
Whether you are a healthcare worker, grocery store employee, parent or student—everyone is struggling with emotions as the pandemic continues to affect our lives. It is tempting to hold in all our stress, anxiety and downright anger at the circumstances surrounding this global pandemic but communicating how you are feeling with your friends and loved ones is an important coping strategy.
“Sharing your feelings doesn’t have to be a venting session,” said Amber Olson, LCSW, with Memorial Behavioral Health. “But being genuine and allowing others to also be candid about how they are feeling can help us work through our thoughts and feelings. It is so important to connect in a meaningful way with others during this stressful time.”
There is nothing wrong with recognizing your need for emotional support. Being intentional about scheduling times to visit via virtual chat or phone call can help facilitate connection.
Focus on being authentic about what’s going on in your life. Don’t sugarcoat issues but avoid giving a monologue. Remember—communication is a two-way process.
Active listening is one way to show another person you care about what they are saying and interested in connecting with them.
- Utilize positive body language. Show your interest in what the other person is saying with eye contact if you are in person or even on screen.
- Reduce distractions. If you are on a laptop or iPad, avoid checking your phone for notifications.
- Pay attention to the emotions behind what the person is sharing with you. Respond with understanding not judgment. Resist the urge to offer advice on how to “fix” the situation.
“Everyone appreciates being heard and feeling understood,” Olson said. “Communicating with others right now–even though it can’t always be done in person–is more important than ever.”
Need to talk?
As behavioral health services across the state close temporarily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Memorial Behavioral Health provides telehealth and phone appointments with their patients. In addition, MBH has established an emotional support hotline, available at 217-588-5509, to provide support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress, even if they are not MBH patients.