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The Emotional Rollercoaster that is COVID-19, One Year Later

Keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. Do not leave your home until the ride has come to a complete stop.

The beginning of 2020 did not turn out how we thought it would and here we are one year later with new lifestyles. Millions have been financially, emotionally, mentally, and of course, physically put through the ringer as we try to fight the coronavirus.

We have not seen or dealt with something like this or with this magnitude, in over a century. How do we process our feelings? How does COVID-19 impact our emotional intelligence (EQ)?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand emotions in ourselves and others. Emotions are a part of our everyday life and impact our work performances. Emotional information (feelings and their proper labels) are influenced by the way we think and how we behave.Effectively managing our EQ allows us to lead, adapt, and grow to achieve our optimal potential.

During the 2008 recession, researchers Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, who developed the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal, found a relapse in Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills(1). Due to the economic failures of the country, 2.8 million people lost their high EQ. This regression in EQ, happened due to the intense, prolonged stress that was left unmanaged during the recession(1). Unregulated stress taps us out of our mental resources that are needed to cope with the little things, making the effects of stress more severe. We are still very much in the pandemic with not only a surplus of masks and sanitizer, but a surplus of unmanaged stress to unpack and handle.

Why does Emotional Intelligence matter at a time like this?

EQ is considered a foundational ability for other critical skills such as change tolerance, empathy, anger management, time management, communication, and trust. All these critical skills are put into play as we navigate social distancing and staying healthy by work

The swift and ever spreading virus has produced an array of negative emotions – panic, shock, pressure, apprehensiveness, insecurity, loss, agitation, worry, anxiety, and moodiness to name only a handful. As an athlete, you might find yourself feeling uneasy and unmotivated trying to stay in shape remotely or without your team, potentially with the lack of offsite resources. Some might express feelings of outrage to those who are disregarding the Center

for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)regulations that are put in place to keep yourself and others safe. Coaches and support staff might feel the pressure to keep the team’s safety, morale, and productivity afloat while maintaining high levels of performance.

There are always ramifications of our emotions, both personally and professionally. The consequences are seen through our behaviors. Without the self-awareness to spot the triggers and without self-regulatory practice for productive responses, we leave our well-being up to chance, along with our relationships and successes. A Coach likely has less visibility and accessibility to athletes’ productivity which only contributes to the already maxed out feeling of uncertainty. This example scenario can be one of the many tests to our EQ.

During these hard times as an athlete (or Coach), manifestations of your emotions has a high likelihood of hindering trust and communication amongst the team if not recognized and processed. More than ever, when the stakes are high for self-preservation and emotional states are unarguable higher, a united team front is vital. The old saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Good news is emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed.

Interested in understanding and further developing your Emotional Intelligence? Integrative Sports Performance Mental Coaching service can provide you with the tools you need to improve your EQ and athletic performance.



Bradberry, Travis & Greaves, Jean. (2009) Emotional Intelligence 2.0, San Diego, CA: TalentSmart

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