Sad woman
Sad woman

Coronavirus welfare advice: Normalising your emotions during this time

The University Counselling Service is producing a series of articles and podcasts to support students during the coronavirus pandemic. This time we offer advice on normalising your emotions.

During this current pandemic it’s likely that you are experiencing a raft of emotions, from shock, anger, loss, grief, relief or numbness. There are no right or wrong feelings to have. Although we are all adjusting to our current way of life, we are also, collectively, likely to be in a state of shock and anxiety. You may find you are more tired than usual, or dreaming more vividly, due to the energy required for processing current circumstances, and all of the information we are taking in each day. 

Living and working in this new way requires us to essentially use different muscles, as we become more accustomed to working online and mediating all of our social interactions via a handset or screen. It takes time to become ‘match fit’, and for some of us, this will never feel entirely right. Others may be feeling relieved that daily life is not quite as frenetic or demanding as previously. 

Getting through this time requires us to employ a mixture of internal and external resources. We’ve lost some of the external structures or aides that we are used to, and so it is helpful, and potentially enjoyable, to be curious about new routines or rewards, in order to put light and shade into the day and the week. 

It can be hard if you are now struggling to concentrate, or feel as if your life is suddenly not under your control. Living with ongoing uncertainty is difficult. It is normal to have good days and bad days. But it is important to remember that a bad day does not mean you are not handling this. It means you are a having a normal human reaction to change, stress and uncertainty.

Find new ways to be nice to yourself, and treat yourself with kindness. Kindness can mean all sorts of things (you get to decide) but reflecting on what helps you to feel better and what hinders you, can be a helpful place to start. These can be as simple as a walk in the fresh air, but also knowing that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to get through this period of time.   

Don't feel bad about taking each day as it comes. Don't beat yourself up if you're not being as productive as your friends. Don't feel guilty for needing to take some time out for yourself. This pandemic has presented an unusual time for many people. You're not alone in how you feel. 

For a range of additional supportive resources, go to the Counselling Service webpages, or visit the coronavirus student advice page for more general information about the impact of coronavirus.