The post below is written by our School Counsellor, Deidre Keating. Shared with families on May 3, 2020.
Hi Parents and Families!
The past several weeks have been a big experience for us all, and it feels like we are now starting to come up for air a little bit. The surprise may have worn off (and the novelty of working from home in pajamas!), and we may now notice new emotions starting to creep in. In a time of massive upheaval, we are bound to experience a multitude of colourful emotions, some familiar, and some perhaps new and unexpected. Have you found yourself or your kids reacting in a way that maybe you would not have before? And in those times, have you tiptoed into judgment land, thinking “We should not be feeling this way”?
Let’s take that “should” and replace it with: “We are feeling this way right now and that’s ok and we won’t feel this way forever”. When it comes to emotions, there are no “shoulds”, especially not during a time of a global pandemic.
What I’ve seen and heard over the coming weeks is so impressive: families coming together and being flexible, resilient, patient, and kind. Communities offering support, and people staying connected in new and exciting ways. The past few weeks have taught us that we are stronger than our experiences, and we are very adaptable creatures.
But we are also deeply feeling creatures, too, and we may be seeing this play out in many ways in our lives as we settle into this new way of being. If you and your kids have been feeling and displaying a range of emotions recently, please know that you are not alone. In fact, I would say that you are definitely part of the majority. It is natural to experience oscillating emotions that may seem to come from nowhere. This is a very healthy response to change. Some of them, like surprise and worry, may be expected and more easily accepted. Others, like anger and sadness, may not be as expected, and we may struggle to understand why all of a sudden these emotions are colouring our days.
If you or your children are feeling a way that you normally would not…be gentle on yourselves. This is all so very new for all of us. And look how resilient we are being! Let’s give ourselves, and each other, gratitude for our flexibility and bravery. Also, let’s be thankful for having a complex emotional system that allows us to feel a wide range of emotions, and process them in healthy ways so we do not get too flooded or too overwhelmed.
One of the joys in life is being able to experience the fullness of our emotions. There are some we’d rather feel most of the time – happy, excited, safe, joyful, loved, to name a few. But the other ones – angry, sad, confused, afraid, nervous, alone – are equally as valid, and equally as ok. All emotions are welcome, even the big ones that rock our world! They can be our greatest motivators, and our deepest source of strength. Remember that emotions are transient, and come and go in time.
And so however you are feeling this weekend, be ok with it! Know that others probably feel the same. We are safe, we are healthy, we are resilient, we are brave. We are getting through this together, and learning new things along the way! Take a moment to be with these words, and pass them along to your family, through actions and words. ?
I wish you all a peaceful and restful weekend however you are feeling!