Are you having a hard time adjusting to the change in your daily routine caused by COVID-19 safety measures? Me too!
Many of us aren’t used to spending so much time at home or away from our normal day-to-day activities. It’s a big change. And it can be hard to cope.
Some common things that people miss include the following – I bet you can relate to many of these:
- Stopping for morning coffee
- Chatting with coworkers
- Going to the gym
- Dining at your favorite restaurant
- Church and other religious/spiritual gatherings
- Leisurely shopping
- Concerts, sports & theater events
Social Distancing Hasn’t Just Created Physical Isolation
You also might be afraid about how you’re going to pay your bills, take care of your family and if you’ll get sick.
These changes and fears can cause a sense of emotional isolation. So not only are we more isolated physically thanks to the new social distancing guidelines, but emotionally as well.
Society teaches us to “put on a happy face” which means that many of us think we shouldn’t talk about negative or painful feelings.
More often than not, we learn by watching how the people around us respond to emotionally painful events. The trouble is that they likely learned from observation as well, resulting in their passing on often less than useful information – without realizing it is not useful.
Your Body Will Tell You It is Not Happy
Your body was designed as a processing center for dealing with your emotions. If, however, you keep these emotions suppressed or take no positive action to face them, your body has to take on the role of an emotional storage center. Since this was not part of its design, it sends you signals to let you know that there is a problem.
To feel better, we often turn to “Short-Term Energy-Relieving Behaviors” – STERBs
STERBs are any action you might take to feel better, if just for a short time. They are activities that provide short-term distraction from negative or painful feelings after a major life event.
For some, it is eating, while for others it is avoiding food. Some will find that they consume more alcohol than in the past. Others will become dependent on medication (legal or illegal) to mask their pain. Some turn to excessive engagement in social media or exercise, while others find retail therapy to be their passion. This list is as long as your imagination!
What are some common STERBs?
- Excessive exercise
- Video games
- Social Media
- Keeping Busy
When STERBs Become a Problem
Most STERBs are not harmful in and of themselves. The problem arises when you use them as coping strategies to avoid painful feelings or just feeling at all.
Let’s use shopping as an example. There’s nothing wrong with shopping. But if shopping is used to avoid feelings, not only do you avoid dealing with your emotions, but you could also end up with financial problems. It gets worse when shopping no longer gives you relief and stops working.
Another example is the excuse you give for drinking more these days. “I just need to take the edge off,” you might say. Would it be more accurate to say that it’s not the drink you want as much as you want the sad feelings to go away? Having a drink isn’t bad. Having a drink to avoid your feelings can be.
The wonderful thing about STERBs is that they work, for as long as you continue to do them. But when you stop engaging in STERBs, the emotional and/or physical pain is still there.
Constant participation in some STERBs can actually lead to addictive behavior that adds additional grief to your life. The reality is that they tend to help cover up or mask your pain, while doing nothing to assist you in moving through and beyond the pain.
So, how do I let go of what’s holding me back?
Schedule a heart-to-heart conversation with me by clicking this link – https://bookme.name/HeatherDHorton/lite/heart-to-heart-conversation.
Heal your heart, change your life.