Coping with Disappointment in the Wake of COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic brings the country to a standstill, many of our everyday activities and even special, once-in-a-lifetime milestones are being postponed or changing in ways we never expected.

Most of us understand the gravity of the situation but that does not mean that we don’t feel a range of emotions. Board certified clinical psychologist and Clinical Associate Professor Kimberly Finney shares some guidance for students, and anyone currently coping with disappointment, on learning to be resilient in these rapidly changing times.

Acknowledge your feelings

Important milestones like weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and funerals are being postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is natural to feel disappointed or sad or even angry about this. Check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. Recognizing and owning your feelings is the first step on the path to acceptance of the situation.

Reframe your thoughts

Consider the positive aspects of your life and your current situation. Find three things you can be grateful for today. Focus on those things you can control.

Use this time creatively

If some celebrations or ceremonies are postponed or cancelled, think of other ways you can recognize the accomplishment once restrictions are lifted. Remember that even if a graduation ceremony is postponed or cancelled, it does not take away from the fact that you earned a degree.

Slow down important decisions

Finney tells her clients that “life should be in pencil with a big eraser.” Avoid making big life changes during this stressful but temporary time. Take time to think through all of your options before making personal or business decisions. Quick action may feel good when we are anxious but holding steady may be the best choice.

Stay emotionally connected to your network

Check in with your professors and your fellow students. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Tap into resources like the Telehealth Online Clinic for online counseling and psychotherapy sources.

Take care of yourself

Don’t just sit on the couch and worry about what you cannot control. Help your brain be at its best by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, eating balanced meals and exercising, even if that means walking circles around your living space.

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