In Times Like These…

I tell myself this whenever I think of my Statistics Exam… 5th time’s the charm, right?

In times like these, it’s easy to feel … well, nothing to be honest. Or everything, everything at once. Let’s be honest, this is all pretty overwhelming come to think of it. And frustrating and enraging at the same time. What is still allowed, what can I still do without endangering myself or others, how long will this last, should I start hording?

First things first: You’re not alone, we are all confused. Confused, a bit angry, feeling a bit rebellious, a bit lonely, and mostly just really wanting that tub of ice cream, piece of pizza, and a nice cold drink.
But put that third XL-pack of toilet paper, flour, or pasta down and remember that you’ll always be allowed to go get groceries no matter what other regulations we will have put upon us. So leave it. Just put it down slowly and gently and take a step back. There’s others who need it more than you. Step away. You can do it.

Second of all, simply because we’re all going through the same situations, not knowing what or when or where, let’s try to find some comfort in this. Not only comfort, but also share these feelings. Do you feel anxious? Frustrated? Bored? It helps to get this out. If you say the things that spook in your head out loud, it can’t hurt you anymore.

yup, looks like me. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

While it is called “social distancing” it’s in no way supposed to isolate you and create emotional distance between you and your friends. Now’s the time to simply talk, watch movies together via video chats, sing along to Disney songs together on the phone (Let it go, anyone? No? Am I … the only one? Never mind), contact your family just to let them know how you’re doing. Emotional bonds are created, maintained, nourished, and simply kept not through physical closeness (sure, it helps, but it’s only a small part) but through emotional connection. And right now I’m sure we’re all in that same emotional state at least 85% of the time. Hades to the left here agrees, right Hades?

Third of all though, and this is equally important: Don’t linger in it. If you let yourself sit in your own puddle of tears and keep feeling sorry for yourself, nothing will change for the better. There’s something called an attentional bias; it means that we are more prone to find something if our mind is attuned to it. Which is why, if you’re looking for something and can’t find it, saying it out loud a few times makes it more likely you’ll find the thing.
Likewise, if your head is set on “this is a horrible situation” and “I am so sad”, the things you see, read and hear will maintains those negative feelings. Whereas if you, after a well-deserved cry tell yourself “ok, now today I’m going to do these things on my list and feel ok with the situation”, you will have an easier time coming back from that feeling of negativity.

Having a really hard time with all of this, and don’t think it’s something your friends can help you with? Contact the KUL Health Desk to speak to one of our psychologists. Really, don’t be shy, or feel like you’re being overly dramatic – these are dramatic times, and as the old saying goes “dramatic times call for dramatic measures“. Or something like that.

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these. – Paul Harvey

Published by thepangaeablog

We're the staff of Pangaea, the Intercultural Meeting Centre of the KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium! Welcome to our blog where we aim to inform you of all we are doing, have planned, and keep you connected with what has happened lately!

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