“Leave your emotions at the door.”
It’s a phrase that you may have heard over and over, and it’s possible that for you, it’s an easy concept. You’re the type of person who can walk into work, or any social situation, and separate your emotions and your personal or professional life. You can leave them at the door, in a corner, in a box — pick your metaphor.
But when you’re very sensitive, it’s not always the easiest concept to wrap your head around. Maybe that fight with your roommate that you had in the morning, before you left for work, was more than you could handle, and you cried throughout the majority of your commute. Or multiple criticisms from your boss led to you fighting back tears while trying to give the appearance that you were just sitting in your cubicle, minding your own business, totally unaffected. But, you fail miserably. Even when all of the career advice books and articles you’ve read tell you otherwise, you head for the second floor bathroom and return with red-rimmed eyes and a puffy nose. And then, you feel all the more self-conscious, because the evidence is all over your face.
Unfortunately, you can’t go through life giving in to every single situation that could potentially lead to an emotional reaction. Sometimes, being able to feel so deeply can get in the way, and it can be to your detriment.
But, how can you make sure that your feelings, sensitivity, and emotions don’t get away of your tasks, whether they are personal or professional?
Step away for a bit
Get in tune with your emotional reactions, and learn to sense when one is coming. If you’re able to catch it before it arrives, don’t bury it, but instead, step away from the situation that’s causing it. Take your lunch break. Walk to the bathroom before it’s obvious that you’ve walked out the door in tears. Go for a drive. Have a snack and drink some water. Then, come back to the situation. Chances are, you’ll see it with a fresh, less emotional perspective. And you won’t be reacting in the heat of the moment, which will just make things worse.
Know your limit
If you know you have a lot of emotions and you’ve hit the point where you’ll know you won’t be productive due to the extenuating circumstances, don’t try to force it. I’ve used my paid time off to take a mental health day, and by the time I went back to work the next day, I’d processed everything that happened outside of work, to the point that I could focus on what was in front of me. Remember your self-care, and that includes knowing when to take a step back, and focusing on yourself for a bit.
Stand clear of emo music, violent movies, and the news
We all loved 2000s emo music, but when you’re feeling particularly sensitive, emo lyrics are actually not going to help you. Violent movies and TV shows also won’t do you any good, either. In fact by listening to that music or watching those types of shows, you’ll likely end up having even more feelings that you just don’t know what to do with. And while it’s important to stay informed, the times in which you are feeling particularly emotional are really not the times that you need to be processing news.
Write, write, write
And the best part of it all? If you don’t want anyone to read it, they don’t have to. It’s up to you. No one’s going to judge your private thoughts, when they’re written in a place where only you can see and read them later on. Just getting these thoughts out on paper can be beneficial to you. When you name the thoughts, you give them life, and you can then figure out how to process them. But, if you’re one to publicize your thoughts, go for it, and create a space for yourself by starting a blog, so long as it’s appropriate, of course.
Talk to someone who gets it
You know what’s better than one person who has a lot of feelings? Two people with lots of feelings. Chances are you’ll make the other person cry upon telling your tale of the fight you had with your roommate, or the nasty remark your boss made, or the fact that you saw that damned Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercial again. But you’ll cry together.