My name is Minaa B. and I’m a speaker, writer, and licensed therapist based in NYC. At work, I specialize in treating depression and anxiety, as well as childhood and racial trauma. I’m also a Lounger-in-Residence (a group of creatives, advocates, and experts who host gatherings for the Lounge community) with the GNI team. Above all else right now, though, I’m a human who's feeling the effects of this new world of COVID-19 and the many cycles of emotions that come with it.
We're all collectively going through a big change right now. And with big change often comes big (complex!) emotions, too. There are days when I feel grief while simultaneously feeling joy. Other times, I feel gratitude at the same time that I feel super annoyed that I have to wear a face mask. The duality of my feelings reminds me of my humanness.
Right now, it's not only possible, but likely you'll experience two seemingly opposite emotions at once. And if this is what you're going through: deep breath. There’s nothing wrong with you — you’re just feeling the effects of being a human who's allowed to hold space for more than one feeling at a time.
So what's someone to do with all these feelings? It's important to take time to reflect on them. Here are two of my favorite ways to show myself grace and unpack my feelings during this complicated moment:
1. Commit to your journaling practice.
Write out your thoughts. Getting words on paper gives you an outside perspective of what you're thinking and feeling. When you're experiencing multiple feelings, write about each of them and what you think they're telling you. If your negative feelings are taking up the most space, sit with them and investigate what you need and what you can change. Think on how to implement boundaries and stay mindful of your triggers right now.
2. Add affirmations to your daily routine, too.
Affirmations (like these) are ways we build self-esteem and self-confidence, which are both really important right now. When you're facing multiple truths, show yourself compassion and affirm your worth. Remind yourself what permissions you have when it comes to your feelings.
Here's a tip: I love writing affirmations on a sticky note, placing them on my wall and reading one each morning to start my day. Before bed, I’ll use that time to journal about the sticky note affirmation I pulled — and how it played a role in my day — as a way to wind down and get better sleep.
Collectively, we’ve never gone through something like this before, so sometimes emotions will feel complex or conflicting. Just remember, there's no right or wrong way to feel right now —we're just feeling our feelings and learning to respond to them one day at a time alongside everyone else.