Are you fighting a cold? Feeling a bit under the weather? Wait, I don’t mean a physical cold.
I’m wondering if you might have an emotional cold.
With this type of cold, you will probably struggle with feeling a little moody, discouraged and slightly depressed.
I’m not talking about deep issues that need counseling or medication. You just feel an emotional letdown or a sense of emptiness.
What causes an emotional cold?
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how our emotions work. An emotional cold can be brought on by any number of stressful things. Sometimes it’s a struggling relationship, a job layoff, or just being overwhelmed or sick of life at the moment. In some cases, unusual work demands or an ill parent can wear us out.
I’ve also seen it happen with anniversaries of a death or a traumatic event. If you’ve lost a child or gone through the death of a parent or spouse, you probably notice lots of thoughts and subtle reminders that pop up around the anniversary of that person’s death.
Psychologists refer to this as “body memories.” It seems that even if we aren’t consciously thinking about the loss, our body has a way of reminding us. Sometimes you recognize it by the way you keep reaching for cookies or chips when you thought you’d conquered those foods.
How to recover from an emotional cold
1. It’s a real cold
Recognize and acknowledge it when you get an emotional cold. Give up the fake happy face and admit that you’re feeling down. With an emotional cold, you can’t just talk yourself out of it, ignore it or shake it off. You may just have to snuggle under an emotional blanket for a few days, and give yourself time to get better.
2. It’s not your fault
Even if you realize it’s related to stress or not taking time for yourself, don’t blame yourself for getting an emotional cold. They just show up, often as a way to remind us that it’s time to slow down and take better care of ourselves.
And if you eat sweets or junk food in your efforts to cope with your cold, don’t conclude that you’re weak or a failure. You probably just needed some relief from the symptoms while you waited for life to heal you.
3. Nurture yourself until you feel better
Do lots of self-care activities while you allow yourself time to recover. If possible, eliminate some of your stress or look for ways to decrease the demands in your life. Take some emotional time off. Call in sick (because you have a “bad cold”) or ask your family to help out more for a few days because of your “illness.”
Once you’ve recovered and you’re feeling better, renew your determination for healthy eating and exercise. Pull out your list of non-food ways to nurture and reward yourself. Then lift the burden off your shoulders, stand up tall, and move back to the center of your healthy road.
Everyone gets an emotional cold now and then. If you learn to recognize the symptoms, then start treating it right away, you’ll perk back up and recover a lot faster.