What is an emotional hangover and how do I handle it?

Guest Blog by Lauren Ware

Emotional hangovers are caused by severe emotional upheaval (also known as Covid-19) and can last considerably longer than those brought about by alcohol. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, think of the last time you went through a break up, had a massive fight with someone, lost a loved one or moved house/city/state/country. Remember how internally exhausting that was… and that right there beautiful people is an emo hangover.

For me the recent lockdown has been an emotional sh*t show of seismic proportions. We have been asked to do nothing but marinate in the emotional juices of our lives choices. And I dont know about y’all but mine a’int always been so squeaky clean and perfect, I’ve had my own work to do too! Through recent months I’ve seen first hand, if not experienced directly, the loss of, jobs, homes, relationships, money, health (both physical and mental) & lives. Several of these things co-occuring at the same time and all of which have required considerable courage to face off against. Pretty huge right! I know this has been the case for most of us.

So how can we ever return to ‘normal’ again. Chances are we probably can’t and that’s both good and bad news. I’ll explain why.

The Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science at New York University found that the emotional residue of highly emotive events can last considerable periods of time. The emotional hangover you are probably experiencing right now means that you have allowed yourself to feel the emotional impact of the choices you’ve made to date and the things that have happened as a result. When else in your life have you ever just sat back and observed your life situation in such detail? Many of us have been pathologically busy for such a long time that we have not taken time for this kind of ‘self work’. I know I hadn’t – not to this extent (& I’m a soul searcher at the best of times).

This is bad news because it hurts like hell especially if you’ve never had to deal with anything like it before or if there are several areas of your life ‘going rogue’ at once. The good news, you now know you can face it, meet intense emotions head on and not die, which makes you the emotional equivalent of Arnie in Terminator.

That said, we’re all bloody exhausted. Even if we’ve effectively been on ‘holiday’ for the best part of three months! So what can we use as emotional Berocca (Irn-Bru for the Scots, Vegiemite toast to the ozzies, but I digress)?

  1. Go gently – if your work has asked you to come back, take the time to use your recently acquired fearless ninja negotiating skills to ease back into it. Ease into days in the office, to public transport use – the last thing any of us needs right now is a tube crush. So we all need to be more gentle with both ourselves and each other. If you have staff to manage please be considerate of this as well, not everything is about money.

  1. Self care – take time every day to spend some time alone, journal, read, listen to a podcast or just reflect on the chaos. Simple quiet reflection has an amazing way of transforming chaos into peace.

  1. Ugly cry – now this sounds like an odd one, but who has ever felt worse off after a good ugly cry?? Enough said.

  1. Be honest – have the difficult conversations, if you are feeling anxious to get on public transport say so, it’s amazing how the simple act of verbalising our experience can reduce its emotional impact! Secondly, If you are unhappy in ANY area’s of your life now is the time for transformation for growth and awakening. You have become the emotional terminator remember?! The precursor to any real change is radical honesty, first with yourself and then with those around you. Be so honest it scares you.

  1. Support someone – some of the best advice I’ve ever been given, when you’re feeling helpless, help someone. The simple act of kindness, a smile, a sympathetic ear. If you have more than you need, ‘build a longer table, not a higher fence’ as they say. Coming out of the ‘coronacrazy’ we’re gonna need one other more than any of us realise – community is going to play a big part, and you heard it here first ;).

  1. Teach by the strength of your example – we have already seen so much volatility courtesy of the emotional amplification caused by this virus, that the last one and by no means least is that I encourage all of us to teach by the strength of our example. Become the kind of person you’d look up to. Speak up where you have to, educate and do it in a way that is useful. This one is so much easier said than done. You will make mistakes, we all do. It takes practice and pain and perseverance but you’ve so SO got this, I know you have.

May your life be your masterpiece in progress as ever we are becoming, L x

If you like to learn more about Laura, head over to her website: https://www.comehealing.co.uk/