Do you suffer from emotional hangovers?
Feelings don’t always come and go smoothly. Sometimes our emotions are overwhelming. Maybe you’re overcome by a deep sense of sadness, a fierce bolt of anger, or you’re filled to the brim with joy. Or sometimes it’s lots of emotions at the same time, all tangled up like a ball of wool. At the time you might be spurred into action, or frozen, or full of shock, or filled with tears or laughter. You might feel as if you’re running a marathon. But what happens afterwards? Emotions can leave a footprint, an ‘emotional hangover’. You might feel drained, irritable or numb. It might be accompanied by physical aches and pains too. I spoke to Stylist about what an 'emotional hangover' might feel like, and how you can cope. Click here for the original article, and carry on reading for my thoughts on the topic.
How can you tell if you're struggling with an 'emotional hangover'?
Check in with yourself and think about whatever you’ve just been through.
Can you rule out other factors too - are you getting enough rest, enough exercise, are you looking after your health?
If you’ve been through an intensely emotional situation and you’re struggling with your feelings, then it’s likely to be the ‘emotional hangover’, the aftermath of what you’ve just been through.
But remember that there might not be an obvious cause. Perhaps you’ve just been through a bereavement or a breakup or a big life event. But perhaps there’s something more general that is triggering it. We can also feel a strong emotional response to events that are happening around us in the world. We saw this during covid, and it’s also common in relation to worries about the global financial situation, about climate change, and about war and conflict.
What's the best way to cope with an 'emotional hangover'?
Emotions are signals. They tell us what we’re going through, and they remind us what we need. An 'emotional hangover' is no different. If you sense that you’re struggling with your emotions in the aftermath of an event, don’t be tempted to ignore them. Allow yourself the rest and recovery that you might need. Consider how you can explore or process what you’ve been through. Maybe you need to talk it through with a trusted friend, find a creative outlet, or explore your feelings in counselling.