All emotions are valid Written by Dr Caroline Lindsay, division E psychologist working in paediatric gastroenterology

As we move forward and lockdown begins to ease, we can feel an array of emotions. We can feel hopeful and brighter about the future, whilst also feeling fearful as to what the future brings.

With lockdown easing you may be going through a range of emotions: anxious and afraid that the changes may bring about an increase in infections, grief for the people who have died and that you want to avoid more loss, conflicted and confused about whether you should be doing things like socialising, whilst also looking forward to the prospect of seeing family and friends you have not seen for a long time. There is no right response to the easing of lockdown. All your emotions are valid. No one can tell you how you are feeling or what you are feeling is wrong because it is what you are feeling. All emotions are a normal part of human experience and YOU ARE HUMAN. Therefore, allow yourself to feel all your emotions.

Your feelings may change day by day, hour by hour, or minute by minute! They will be influenced by your current situation and what you have been through, your views about what has happened and what should happen next. No feeling is good or bad, they just are. Some of the emotions you are feeling may feel difficult to manage, but try to give the feeling space, acknowledge it, feel it and express it:

  • By telling someone you trust. This can feel difficult and we can worry about being judged by others, but it can help you feel better just by having someone listen to you or show they care.
  • Creatively by writing or drawing. Sometimes it is easier to put our feelings onto paper instead of verbally and this can help externalise our feelings and release tension.
  • Rip up paper – this gives a kinaesthetic outlet for your energy and emotion.

As lockdown hopefully continues to ease, reflect on the last year and finally allow yourself to feel positive about the future without feeling guilty. You are allowed to feel happy and look forward to things. With the beginning of spring we wish for brighter days.