Have you also started to change when the pandemic began? Do you also sometimes look at your previous self and ask where it went wrong? Well, if your answer to these were yes, then you came across the right article. When the global pandemic starts to strike on us, we have no choice but to put restrictions to protect ourselves. Countries began to make their move by closing borders and implementing temporary community quarantines. By this, it means that we would not be able to continue doing our mundane chores the way we used to do them daily. Offices started to shift to a work-from-home setting while students began trying a new learning medium online. Was it exhausting? Partly. Day-by-day, we try to find joy while adjusting to the new normal. However, did you find anything strange when we started to adapt to these changes? As we sit all day and face our screens, we try our best to get in touch with reality. However, it is also noticeably visible how we slowly became impatient over petty things at work, irritated with the simple noise of our family members, and zoned out for about how many times a day in all our conference calls. Then, later on realizing, that no, this is not my best self. So, where did it go wrong? Why do I feel like this? From here, you begin to question yourself if this is still normal or if everyone else feels the same way as you do.
First, adjusting to new circumstances would naturally make you feel uncomfortable. According to the theory of cognitive adaptation, this feeling is normal since you suddenly feel that everything became out of control. Therefore, your feeling of being different from your previous self is just a sign that you are still in the process of adjustment. So nothing went wrong from your end. It is okay to feel what you are feeling. What we have at the moment is an unexpected adverse event that brought emotional unpreparedness for all.
Another factor that may explain what you are feeling right now is loneliness. Although you may say that you are currently with your family and not residing alone, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot be lonely anymore. Remember, being lonely does not equate to being alone and vice versa. You can be alone but feel happy, so you can also feel lonely while being with others. As we isolate ourselves to stay safe, we also cut our connections for physical interactions. Therefore, feelings of boredom cannot be avoided. From this, the sense of loneliness may surface. If this happens, you might see yourself getting angry and frustrated most of the time. Why? Because according to the study of Banarjee & Rai (2020), these behaviors are linked with loneliness.
In a nutshell, the feeling of walking on thin ice during this pandemic is not something that you need to worry so much about. It is part of the adjustment process of that unfamiliar feeling that we felt upon transitioning to a major change. In fact, most of you even made an effort to eradicate this feeling. Again, according to the theory of cognitive adaptation, the solution that people tend to do when facing this type of situation is to make an effort to let themselves out of it. Do you remember how people started to find themselves different hobbies at the beginning of the pandemic? They tried to ease themselves by finding comfort in what they wanted to do.
Understanding one’s self is not a race. So do not be pressured if you see other people adjusting well to the current situation. If you are still in the process of adjustment, acknowledge it, then help yourself surpass it. Dr. Robert Leahy, a psychologist, gave some tips that might help you with this. First, if you feel as if there is too much on your plate, give yourself a break. Learn to accept that it will never be the same as it is. Do not put too much meaning on things, and think that they are just minor inconveniences. Next, try to be more accommodating and polite. Even if you are stressed out, do not forget to think about others' feelings too. Your simple compliment might come a long way. Finally, view your life as a narrative. This is your own story, and you are currently in the chapter where you are facing a crisis. Outline your own story and remember that you can outweigh whatever is happening because you are the one writing it. In short, you are choosing your own ending.
Love yourself and validate your own feelings to carry on. However, in the event that your feelings already burden you in a consistent manner, which already impairs your daily work, this is the time where you need to step up and ask for help. If it is something that you cannot overcome by yourself, never be afraid to seek assistance. Together, let us stay healthy in mind and body!
Allison, C. (2020, June 24). How to Adjust to the ‘New Normal.’ NewYork-Presbyterian. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/how-to-adjust-to-the-new-normal/
Arzt, M. N. S. (2021, July 24). Bored and Lonely – Reasons Why and What to Do About It. SocialPro.https://socialpronow.com/blog/bored-lonely/#:%7E:text=You%20need%20to%20understand%20the,t%20feel%20connected%20to%20them.
Banerjee, D., & Rai, M. (2020). Social isolation in Covid-19: The impact of loneliness. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(6), 525–527. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020922269
Büssing, A., Rodrigues Recchia, D., Hein, R., & Dienberg, T. (2020). Perceived changes of specific attitudes, perceptions and behaviors during the Corona pandemic and their relation to wellbeing. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-020-01623-6
Czajkowska, Z. (2017). Theory of Cognitive Adaptation. Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1019-1
Grant, A. (2021, July 29). Feeling Blah During the Pandemic? It’s Called Languishing. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html