Emotional Hangovers Are Real
A week into 2021 and we are experiencing serious and traumatic events. Many of us have experienced and fought to cure an alcohol induced hangover before. After a long night of drinking, we wake up feeling sluggish, dizzy and nauseated and have a sensitivity to light or sound. But it’s not just alcohol that can make you feel awful the next day — emotions can have the same effect.
Emotional hangovers are real! An emotional hangover occurs after a serious or traumatic event. 2020 fits that to a T, as does witnessing the storming of the Capitol building by supposed patriots. It can also occur after an argument, a difficult day at work, breakup from your partner/friend or even after a long day of "peopling". If you are feeling a little "off" today, the explanation is fairly simple. As Dr. Judith Orloff, author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, wrote in Psychology Today, emotional hangovers are the “energetic residue left over from the interaction,” and without an outlet, this energy affects your physical well-being. They can make you feel tired, foggy or ill.
Now that you know what you are experiencing is real, here are some strategies for dealing with your emotional hangover:
Treat your symptoms
Do you have a headache? A queasy stomach? Are you exhausted? If the former are your complaints, take medication. Pain relievers go a long way, and both Tums and Pepto-Bismol can do wonders for that unsettled feeling. As soon as you can, take a break and savor it. Take a nap or do something that reinvigorates you.
Eat a well-balanced meal
While eating a well-balanced meal may seem like a given, in the midst of an emotional hangover, this simple task is often overlooked. Proper nutrition is essential. It increases your energy level and improves your well-being. So eat a good, comforting meal and avoid anxiety-inducing foods, like candy, coffee, alcohol and/or caffeine.
The mental health benefits of exercise are well-known. Physical activity is a proven way to reduce anxiety and depression. It has the potential to improve any mood. So dance, walk, run, hike or ride. Whatever you do, just get moving.
Read or meditate
It is imperative that after enduring an emotionally draining experience you get outside yourself and your own mind, and the media! You are probably still reeling from the event(s) in question. There is such a thing as healthy escapism, reading and meditation are two great methods.
Know when to seek additional help
Since the symptoms of an emotional hangover can mirror those of depression and/or other mental illnesses, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. The general rule of thumb is that if said symptoms last more than two weeks, you should seek additional professional help. But it doesn't hurt to reach out sooner and smaller. Sometimes you simply need to talk through your situation with a trusted loved one or friend. Trust yourself and your gut and remember that if something feels “off,” it probably is.
The good news is that with time, patience and self-care you will feel better. This will pass but in the meantime, be kind to yourself, treat yourself as you would a sick friend.
If you are in need of additional support, reach out to us today!