Julie shares her expertise and personal experience with heavy feelings of grief, sadness, anxiety during the global pandemic. With so much uncertainty and staying home we’re bound to have bouts of uncomfortable feelings. On a rainy day, inside her car, Julie takes us through some of the ways she deals with these feelings when they come up for her.

A lot of people are experiencing bouts of sadness, heaviness, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, and the unknown of what’s going on – when we’re cooped up at home, isolated, and cut off from social networks. These feelings rise to the surface and feel disorienting.

Some things I do to help me cope with these uncomfortable feelings

I’ve had bouts of that during this time.

With training and experiences around grief and sadness, I’ve learned to just sit with it and not force anything, not resist the heaviness.

I also communicate to people around me, my husband, friends, about where I’m at. Not in way that I’m asking for advice or needing them to help me, but to let them in. That act is very supportive. It helps get me through those times. That’s one way I cope is by communicating with others.

Acceptance piece is huge

Sounds easy to do but can be a difficult practice

Accepting I’m feeling this grief, this heaviness, that it’s going to be my companion for the next few days. So, if that means lying in bed, resting, letting myself cry, that’s cathartic. It takes some of that heaviness away.

Reaching out to friends – whatever it is I need right now.

I try to ask myself in those moments what do I need right now, what does my body need, what’s nourishing, what’s helpful, what’s supportive.

Rather than resisting or fighting or thinking I shouldn’t be feeling that way or telling myself that its wrong. Because it’s not.

Especially now. We won’t always know why we’re feeling the feelings we are or what’s coming up. But the more I can tune into them and just allow them to be, it lets it flow more naturally and then I know, that from experience and years of doing this, it won’t last. So I also tell myself that this is temporary. So  I feel like this now, but in a few days, or even a day, I will feel differently.

Most importantly, it’s being gentle with myself when those feelings do arise and learning how to take better care of myself and those feelings and that tender part of myself.

So reaching out for support, letting people in my life know where I’m at helps take the burden away and just allows me the freedom to be whatever I’m feeling, scared, sad, lonely. It helps to name it.

Another practice is journaling and naming those feelings.

And if you’re more of a physical body person you can actually sit with yourself and track it in your body and try to notice where you feel those emotions. I know for myself with grief and sadness and some of my clients, it’s usually in my chest. So sometimes it’s just placing my hand and feeling into that space and sending compassion to myself. It really helps. I always think of it as just that mothering nourishing energy. That’s what we need, need the most when we’re feeling heavy and dealing with some of those more uncomfortable feelings.

Then notice what happens, notice that the feeling doesn’t last. Eventually it’s lifted and you’ll feel different. So that’s another way to track the emotion sensation, and journaling can help with that.

Those are my tips for a rainy day.

Hope everyone‘s doing well, reaching out for support and being with loved ones and taking this time to really nourish yourself and be gentle because that’s what’s really needed right now.

Julie Hughes
Senior Associate Counsellor at Steadfast Counselling | Website | + posts

Julie has been counselling individuals and couples for over 10 years and is a Registered Professional Counsellor (#3065) with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association. Julie holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa as well as having completed a 3 year counselling program with Clearmind International Institute.

View Julie's biography and counselling schedule.