With the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic, a lot is changing within our daily lives. A lot of these changes may feel uncomfortable, make us feel uncertain, anxious, angry, and give us the feeling of loss.
With the adjustments we are all facing in our lives, it is important to recognize that we may be experiencing grief with all of these changes. Grieving plans we may have lost, connections, and changes to our everyday lives.
To manage our grief associated to COVID-19, the first step is to acknowledge that we are in a state of grief and that it is perfectly normal to feel that way with this current situation.
Acknowledging your grief includes noting what you are grieving.
With the current “stay at home” orders and social distancing, we may be grieving the shifts in connecting with our usual support. Grieving the loss of seeing our friends, family, and co-workers.
Many of us are being furloughed, laid off, or telecommuting for work and this can also be an element that we are grieving. The loss of continual stable work or not being in our usual work environment with our co-workers and work support.
Our scheduled plans, activities we were looking forward to, outings, and routines have all been shifted and can be causing a sense of grief with those losses.
To manage this grief, we should be sharing it.
If you’re grieving that lack of connection with your support, chances are they are right there with you grieving the same loss. What better way to connect and manage that grief than by doing it together with your support?
Connect with your support system via virtual means (phone, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, text, etc.) and try engaging in activities that you would normally do with your social circle.
If you would normally watch the latest movie or tv show together, drink coffee together, or have a weekly check in, continue to do it virtually to have some sense of routine and normalcy during these difficult times.
Share with your social support on how you’re experiencing grief with these adjustments. Talking and sharing these feelings is the most helpful tool to use during these times.
You can also journal your feelings about your grief through this experience to have some outlet about your feelings.
Use journaling, art, or any other form of expression of your feelings during this time for a healthy release.
An important element to know is that with acknowledging grief comes acceptance of things we cannot change.
This is the most difficult aspect of coping with grief and is commonly misunderstood with thinking “Acceptance” is the same as “Approval”, which is not the case.
Acceptance allows us to accept that the current situation is present, real, and allows us to adjust and adapt as needed for our own peace of mind with the situation.
Acceptance does not equal Approval.
We are merely accepting the situation in order to overcome it.
Grieving the current situation and changes in our lives during this time is a completely normal feeling.
Remind yourself that it’s “okay to feel this way” and that it’s “completely normal”. Practice compassion for yourself and practice self-love to help manage grief with the loss you’ve experienced and share that with others.
For additional support during these times reach out to your social support, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors (while practicing safe social distancing of course) to have some connection and relate to one another.
You can also reach out to a therapist local to you via Telehealth for some additional support and coping skills to help manage grief.