Keys for Emotional Self-Care during Lockdown

During the current crisis, it's more important than ever to look after your emotions. It's time to make your emotions your best ally and have a calmer journey through this difficult situation.
Keys for Emotional Self-Care during Lockdown
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Each person is coping as best they can with the current situation. We don’t all have the same circumstances, the same means, or a good support network. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn to develop certain psychological skills to manage factors such as confinement and uncertainty better. In this case, you can apply a series of keys for emotional self-care during the coronavirus crisis.

In the last few days, there have been many well-intentioned messages reminding us that it’s time to come together and think about the same goal. However, from the field of psychology, we know that this situation is a difficult one for a good part of the population. Within the walls of each home, there can be loneliness, anxiety, the pain of loss, family problems, and the shadow of fear.

Sometimes, it isn’t enough to maintain routines, exercise, or video call your family or friends. You’re still missing something. This causes you to be suspended in a kind of emotional waterwheel. There are moments when you feel mentally strong, but then frustration or even tears come knocking at the door. All of this is normal.

The important thing here is not to get trapped by negativity permanently. These emotional realities must be like passing clouds: feelings that you observe, accept, and then let go. This will help you see things around you with clarity and inner calm.

Below, we’re going to share a series of strategies to improve your emotional self-care.

A woman looking out the window.

Keys to emotional self-care during the pandemic

Daniel Goleman pointed out, in his now-famous book Emotional Intelligence, that people sometimes get confused when talking about the need to control their emotions. Emotions are a part of your life and, as such, this “control” will never be able to block them out or deny them in your daily life.

Rather, it should be a matter of modulation. You can reduce the disruptive effect that certain emotions may have but, at the same time, understand their message and their purpose for your life. For example, if you feel frustrated and even angry because you have to stay at home, there’s no point in denying or trying to forget this inner state.

What you need to do is channel those emotions somehow. You should look for an activity that will allow you to “free” that emotion. The keys to emotional self-care during the pandemic require a constant commitment to yourself. Here are some important guidelines that you can start to apply in your life.

Check your mood throughout the day

There’s no greater paradox than forced confinement in a pandemic context. More than anguish, uncertainty reigns. And when this sensation fills you, you start to ask yourself many questions. How long will this last? What if I get infected? If someone in my family gets infected, what will I do? What will happen in the next few days?

These persistent doubts increase the emotional discomfort almost without you realizing it. You enter a state of hypervigilance and everything begins to get more difficult. Thus, it’s vitally important that, throughout the day, you analyze yourself to discover the state your mind is in and the emotions that are controlling you. You must identify them. Doing this will help you make decisions.

I accept my emotions and I’ll give myself what I need

One of the most important keys to emotional self-care during the lockdown is, above all, acceptance. What does this mean? It basically means accepting all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s normal to feel worried and experience distress and even disbelief at some point.

After all, each person copes with this in a different way. Sometimes, you may be surprised by the positivity of other people and how relaxed and happy they seem to be in the situation.

Each one faces situations in the best way they can. Sometimes, humor is nothing more than a good defense mechanism. Thus, you need to accept other people’s reactions, even if they’re different from yours. At the same time, you also have to accept how you’re feeling.

After monitoring your emotions and identifying them, you must give yourself what you need. Anxiety needs to be tied down. You must focus on the here and now. A good idea is to talk to someone you love or do an activity that helps you feel calm.

Frustration, restlessness, and anxiety need channels of expression. And sadness needs the refuge of peace, a good book, and some pleasant music.

A man listening to music.

Use your emotions to your own advantage

Believe it or not, we all have a role to play during the current crisis. We’re all protagonists in this emergency situation. And we must all be responsible. That’s why one of the keys to emotional self-care during this crisis is to be clear about who you want to be.

You can choose to become of those people who are driven by irrational thoughts and panic. People who make compulsive purchases and are held captive by emotions such as anger and rage, making it difficult to live with their loved ones. However, this isn’t the right way to act.

You can choose to be an exceptional person instead. You can act with serenity and confidence to face these days in a better way. Meditate and rationalize your thoughts. Identify what stresses you out, as well as the situations that increase your concern. Focus on the here and now and don’t try to second-guess the future.

Focus on what you can control

An undeniable fact about COVID-19 is that it’s an unknown enemy. Having to face something new creates anxiety and can easily plunge you into a state of great uncertainty. Therefore, one of the keys to emotional self-care during the coronavirus crisis is to focus on what you can control.

To do this, a positive exercise is to take some paper and a pencil and draw two columns. In one column, write down what you can control about this situation (protective measures against infection, taking care of your family, and taking care of your physical and emotional health, among others).

In the other column, write down what you can’t control, such as knowing how long the crisis will last. At the end of this exercise, reflect and realize that, in spite of everything, you can control some very important things. Things that can help to keep you calm and face this situation positively.

Thus, stop letting your emotions take control of the situation. Take back control and you’ll see the difference!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.