How to Deal With the Guilt You Feel During the Pandemic
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A lot of people are experiencing unnecessary guilt right now, so you’re not alone if you can relate. Talking to friends and family members who understand can help.
If, despite your efforts, you’re still experiencing a lot of guilt or it’s interfering with your ability to function, consider seeking professional help. Guilt can be a symptom of depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues.
Here are a few reasons why some people may be feeling more guilty during this time:
Here are several reasons why people experience more guilt during the pandemic:
Don’t waste your energy fighting your guilt or thinking, “I shouldn’t feel this way.” Ignoring it or even trying to suppress it won’t work.
Instead, notice your feelings and acknowledge it. Put a name to it. Studies show that just labeling your feelings can help them feel less intense.
Your guilt may be a reminder that you should apologize to someone you've hurt.
If you messed up, acknowledge your mistake to the other person. Say you’re sorry without making any excuses for your behavior and accept full responsibility.
You may also feel guilty even when you haven’t done anything wrong. Acknowledge the difficulties the other person is experiencing, but don’t give an unnecessary apology.
Guilt feels uncomfortable. So when you experience it, you may be tempted to take whatever steps you can to feel better. But if you’re not careful, the action you take to relieve your guilt might not be healthy.
Ultimately, you may end up feeling even guiltier for taking actions out of an attempt to alleviate your guilt.
Pay attention to the story you are telling yourself and ask if there’s another way to look at the situation. You might discover a slight shift in the way you think about the situation can help you feel better.
If you think, “I’m a horrible person for not helping my parents,” you’ll feel bad. But, if you remind yourself, “I’m doing the most loving thing I can right now by staying away,” you might feel a little better.
It’s important to show yourself some compassion, ditch the harsh self-criticism, and learn to be kinder to yourself.
A great way to practice self-compassion is to ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend who felt this way or had this problem?” Chances are, you'd be kind.
Responding to yourself with that same type of kindness and compassion can help alleviate some of the unnecessary guilt you feel.
Be aware of the other emotions and mood you experience when you’re around other people too. If someone tries to force you to go on guilt trips, set boundaries. Refuse to be “guilted” into doing things you don't want to do.
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