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How to Organize your Feelings during COVID-19

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

The Ecological Systems theory, developed by psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, explains how we are made up of many systems. The manner in which we interact with those systems, or layers, can stimulate certain thoughts and feelings. The theory explains human development as being influenced by those systems (microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem). Given this isn't a psychology 101 class and I'm not sure how much you really want to hear it, I'll move on. This theory is VERY HELPFUL when you feel like your thoughts and feelings are "all over the place", "overwhelming", and "shifting from moment to moment". When the unknown of how you can coexist with coronavirus feels like "too much", take a step back and look at your layers.



When we experience a personal event, like a job loss or breakup, we feel intensely about that. However, we can go out into the world and see that everyone else is okay. When we experience a worldwide pandemic, that security is robbed from us. This is when feeling overwhelmed can take over. Coronavirus is impacting your personhood,

community/family/friend, state, nation, globe, culture, and existential beliefs. On each level, you have a different set of thoughts that come with its own set of feelings. Think about a library. A library is organized by categories and shelves. Each shelf is organized by books. And each book has organized chapters. Well, you get the idea.


So, when you are spiraling into the unknown, ask yourself where are your thoughts? On what level? And what feelings are associated with that level? Organize them and regain control of them. Take care of yourself by staying off of certain levels when you need to calm down. Also, be compassionate and kind with yourself. This theory explains why you are "good one minute and a panicky little mess the next". It is okay to not be okay. It is okay for your feelings to contradict each other. Let yourself have the range of feelings but keep they organized and stay centered. You are the librarian (yeah-this analogy isn't going away; get used to it).



This is a hard time and impacts people to different degrees. Take care of yourself by taking care of your thoughts and feelings. Your inner dialogue will determine how you get through this event. Be kind to yo' self.




Photo by Gabriel Sollmann on Unsplash

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