Why it's okay to feel disappointed during lockdown

Disappointment is a complex emotion, described by psychologist Dr Tara Well in the US journal Psychology Today as “the painful gap between our expectations and reality”. What right do we have to feel disappointed, when thousands of people are in intensive care or losing loved ones, exhausted NHS staff are fighting on the frontline and business owners are facing the devastation of their livelihoods? Gallery: 30 new skills you can learn at home during coronavirus quarantine (The Active Times) Katerina Georgiou, a counsellor and psychotherapist working in north London, insists that we have every right. Chances are, they feel the same and you can share comfort in knowing you aren’t alone.” The expectation to adopt the British stiff upper lip and display emotional self-restraint in the face of adversity can weigh heavy. The wartime attitude of ‘keep calm and carry on’ has its place in a crisis, such as when clear-headedness to make key decisions is called for, but burying your emotions risks long-term psychological damage. Ignoring your feelings simply dismisses that they are there in the first place and that isn’t growthful in the long run.” So, how do you process disappointment? We can journal our experiences as a way of processing them and documenting this moment in time for future generations.” Once you have accepted your disappointment, choose what you wish to do with it. Could you organise a Zoom call with that group of friends you’ve been struggling to nail down, in place of the reunion dinner you’d had in your diary for months? Social media is awash with ‘inspirational’ memes, making it easy to feel that relentless positivity is demanded and expected of us, sometimes to a toxic degree. Taking a break from your favourite social platforms can help, but what if it’s a well-meaning friend or family member who rushes straight into ‘at least…’ or ‘it could be worse…’ as soon as you share yourdisappointment? “The healthiest way to move forward from coronavirus-related disappointment is to acknowledge that we’re all in this together, rather than debating a hierarchy of who has it worse and belittling each other’s losses.” The famous 19th-century philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” There may be some truth in this prime Instagram fodder, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to drop the brave face and to let it all out before digging deep. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for skincare and self-care, the latest cultural hits to read and download, and the little luxuries that make staying in so much more satisfying.