So, I’ve always been the positiv, optimistic, happy person of my family. Always willing to help, the one my friends come to for comfort, etc. Recently however, I’ve been feeling incredibly stressed, emotional, and there hasn’t been a day this week that I haven’t cried. My family haven’t been great about supporting me, probably because they think I’m acting, or I just want attention. So I don't feel like I can talk to them about what I’m feeling because I’m usually the one they’re talking to. I also don’t want to come across as ungrateful because I have a brilliant life, but school’s been incredibly stressful, and I’m never motivated anymore. Any advice about working through these emotions and becoming happy again?
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When all of these state guidelines are finally relaxed and then done away with, I am looking forward to a dance party at a particular building not too far from where I live in NYC! Thank you for the work that you do, Helen...
Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. I’m very sorry to hear about how stressed you have been lately. I want to clarify that being grateful for what you have does not mean you cannot admit to feeling stressed and unmotivated. Despite typically being optimistic and happy (which are great qualities to have), you are allowed to express your negative feelings. Negative emotions are not only okay to experience but they are also essential to maintaining a healthy mindset (see here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/negative-emotions-key-well-being/). So, I encourage you to be kind to yourself when coping with these feelings. We are living in very difficult circumstances, and no one should expect you to be handling them easily.
Opening up to others about your situation can be cathartic and effective at helping you feel less alone. I know you mentioned that your family has not exactly been supporting you during these times. Unfortunately, loved ones are not always good at being understanding of our emotions. Thus, if you have already attempted to reach out to them but to no avail, I recommend reaching out to other close people in your life. For example, you could reach out to another close relative or your best friend. Mention to them how you feel and the causes to you feeling that way. You may also want to let them know how they can best support you (e.g. by checking in on you every so often). If you are having a hard time opening up about how you are feeling, check out this link for advice: https://www.mhanational.org/time-talk-tips-talking-about-your-mental-health
If you still struggle with opening up to others about this or wish not to do so, I recommend creating a mental health journal for yourself. Sometimes, putting your feelings into words can help you rationalize your thoughts and think of healthy coping mechanisms. Here are some tips to creating a mental health journal: https://screening.mhanational.org/content/how-keep-mental-health-journal. If you decide to use a physical journal, you may even want to decorate it (e.g. with fun stickers) in a way that helps make the writing process calming for you.
Find ways to destress in your everyday life. To do this, consider what helps relax you after a long day. Perhaps you enjoy watching an episode of your favorite Netflix show or having a dance party in your room to your favorite song. Then, include some of these activities into your day on a regular basis. For instance, you may choose to watch your favorite show after you finish an assignment. At the end of the day, you can blast your favorite music in your room and pretend you are hosting a private concert. Here are some more ways you can destress: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/40-simple-and-brilliant-ways-relax-and-stress.html
Continue to check in on yourself. I know it can be difficult to maintain good mental health when feeling stressed and unmotivated. Thus, I encourage you to set reminders on your phone or make it a habit to self-reflect. Make sure that you have at least eaten a healthy snack, taken a couple of sips of water, walked around and stretched for a few minutes, and rested your eyes. When you find yourself feeling unmotivated for school, refer to this link that offers tips for students: https://ai.umich.edu/blog/are-you-a-student-disrupted-by-coronavirus-and-feeling-unmotivated-we-have-five-ideas/
Lastly, tell yourself that it is okay to feel down. Some days will be harder than others. During those days, remind yourself that you are supported and not alone.
Sending love and support,
Hello from NYC! I'm not a peer counselor, I'm a member of Asking Jude. Based on all of the experiences I've had over the years and based on anything and everything I've learned about human beings, since you're talking about your family, and you're not sharing anything negative about them, I would be honest and direct with them and ak them for advice about your predicament...
Hi, lovely! Welcome to Asking Jude. I relayed your submission to Helen, and she'll be answering it shortly.