I’m far more easily irritated than I usually do – I don’t suffer fools gladly at the best of times, but I’ve noticed I’m less patient with others – not my family but in business – I’m more irritable, have a shorter fuse and I’m more quick to anger – with nonsense or PR hype or triviality.
I read an article in ‘Today’ where Chris Cuomo admitted the coronavirus is making him meaner and others noticed being easily irritated too. But experts say something else is going on.
Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and host of the podcast Personology, says ‘When you give people high anxiety or even when you give them a lot of sadness and loss, irritability is often a symptom. You’re not being inherently mean. It’s stress.’
She says that ‘when I think of somebody being mean I think the person has the intent to do something to hurt somebody. Your intention is to make that person feel bad. So, I don’t know that the pandemic is making people mean per se, but I think it’s absolutely pushing our limit.
And that makes sense to me – I just feel a bit more cynical than I usually do ….. and I have felt a bit guilty about that !
The repetitive Groundhog Day feelings just get on my nerves some days and I just feel quicker to be annoyed by things and I find I feel angry as a result, which is quite different than being mean, but it’s not how I usually react to things.
But I was glad to read I wasn’t alone!
I’m quite self aware having studied NLP, Life Coaching and Adlerian Psychology so I recognise my triggers and know how to get myself back into equilibrium quite quickly.
But I miss the variety of going up to Disney’s Headquarters in London to do my Facebook Lives in the studio, getting on a train home after having reviewed the papers for TalkRadio and doing all the various social things I love like meeting my kids for dinner in a restaurant and hugging them as well as hearing their news, or visiting an Art Gallery or just chewing the fat on my friend Sara’s sofa.
I read, I paint, I write and I sing loudly in the car, I meditate and walk my 3 dogs across muddy fields in Surrey and enjoy the blue sky and the green trees, I’ve taken up Gousto to connect with the enjoyment of cooking again and I bought a Cross Trainer to let out my strong emotions but as it drags on – it gets me down some days and I feel guilty as I know I am really blessed compared to other people worried about money, health, juggling home schooling and worried about their business and their families.
Mary Fristad, a psychologist in the department of psychiatry and behavioural health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, said relying on the things that keep people strong will be useful in preventing emotional outbursts. One way to help is by connecting with people outside of the house – through a phone call, text or Zoom.
Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising and acknowledging my feelings helps so I tell my husband that I’m feeling frustrated, bored, fed up with the same old, same old and that helps me release the feelings healthily.
I know it’s about staying present in the moment, forgiving myself for feeling the way I do and doing something to nurture my soul and make my heart dance – even for 15 minutes.
Here’s an Idea
Change your routine. Start small.
You could walk a different way with the kids or the dogs for example, stop at a take away and buy a coffee. Just do things differently to how you have been doing them. It can be so easy to get caught in a cycle of habits… Grab a pen and paper right now and write down 3 ways in which you are going to start your day differently tomorrow.
But it’s a strange old time isn’t it?