Coping with Grief during COVID-19
We have all been impacted to a degree by the COVID-19 pandemic and you may feel feelings of sorrow, fear and anger. Or perhaps you feel exhausted, numb and detached from the normal ways of life. These emotions are natural and all common emotions and feelings of going through grief.
Many describe grief as the loss of a loved one, but we are impacted by grief with many types of losses. Right now through the pandemic we have lost jobs, homes, cannot visit a loved one who is dying for example. We are now navigating our changed reality.
Grief, which is natural can impact our wellbeing if we do not have effective coping tools. You may suffer with lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, substance misuse and isolation. All these may explain why grief can be associated developing depression, heart disease and other health issues. We have to take steps to manage our grief and support your physical and emotional wellbeing. This means processing these difficult feelings, understand and find meaning, and make self-care a priority. Below are a few tips:
Be yourself; many people facing grief may feel like they need to be strong and on top of things, just as they were before their loss. Let yourself grieve otherwise you can add to your stress and actually prevent releasing your pain. Grieving is a crucial part of the healing process.
Seek support from others. When we grieve, we can sometimes worry that we are burdening others with our sorrow which can result in isolation. When you share your feelings with others can ease the loneliness and that support can regulate stress responses. Stay connected either by phone or getting together with friends as long you as follow COVID safety guidelines. You can also connect online with grief support groups or at your church.
Get moving. Though you don’t have to start or even maintain a fitness regimen it helps to get some level of exercise which releases neurotransmitters which is linked to improved moods. Take a walk, or do some meditation, yoga or stretching exercises, anything to release some stress.
Find balance and structure. Each day fine time to do something you enjoy or calms you. Some examples include journaling, listening to music while meditating, finding a hobby you enjoy. You will gain benefits that can bring calmness, but you also bring consistency back to your life to remind you of what you can control.
Remember that there is no time limit on grief, each person is unique and will process through their own journey. However, it can be of concern if your grieving starts to interfere with your self-care, social, work or family life longer than a few months. And with COVID many of us can be struggling longer than usual responses to grief. It is necessary to be aware of how you are feeling and if you continue to feel overwhelmed by your loss you should consider seeing a Greif coach or counselor. They can help you with the necessary tools and coping mechanisms to manage and cope with your grief.
Remember your feelings are normal, grief can be different day to day and we need to lean into our emotions, cry, reflect, laugh knowing that you are moving towards healing.