Coping with Grief During COVID-19

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we are all experiencing grief. Whether it be job loss, grieving over the loss of our normal routines, missing important trips and celebrations, or just the fear of the unknown - we are all experiencing grief in some way. On top of these uncertainties, if you experience the loss of a loved one during this time, it can be an even more difficult experience. Grieving a loved one is a difficult personal journey to go through. During this pandemic, your feelings are compounded by a variety of other tough emotions.


Under normal circumstances, we sometimes rely on support to get us through tough times; in this era of social distancing, this is challenging. We may be feeling guilt and lack of closure that we were not able to be with family members or friends when they died. No matter what religious practices or customs we believe, the inability to have proper funerals is a difficult aspect to work through. We are all in this together, we are all grieving in our own way. There are some steps you can take to work through your feelings and bring you some much needed peace.


In coming to terms with your grief, in wading through your emotions; the first step is to acknowledge that your feelings are valid. Whatever you may be feeling is OK. There is no ‘right way’ to grieve. In such an uncertain time we are all trying to find a new normal, and if you are grieving the loss of someone close to you, you are going to feel many big things. Sometimes, after experiencing the shock of a sudden loss, we feel numb. Be gentle on yourself.


Immediately following the loss, taking care of yourself is extremely important. While practicing self-care may seem like a daunting task in the wake of your grief, just try to focus on the basics - make sure you’re eating, drinking water and getting enough rest.  Self-care can help you mentally, physically and spiritually. Try to get your body moving - if able. From a leisurely stroll, to an online yoga class, getting exercise can alleviate some of the tension and pain your body is holding onto while grieving.


No one should go through these feelings alone. Reach out to family and friends. While COVID-19 has completely changed the landscape of how we get together with others, there are still ways to connect. You may feel like you want to close yourself off and stay alone, but it’s more important than ever to surround yourself with those you can open your heart to. Due to CDC guidelines, we are unable to get together in groups of more than 25, however, you are still able to connect virtually on platforms such as Zoom and Skype. Have people share their favorite stories and memories of the one you lost. This will help you remember the happy times you shared.


Take all the time you need. Grief is a complicated process. Don’t rush yourself into accepting the loss. Give yourself the gift of time - there will be one day where you can look back on brighter days and smile, and it’s okay if you’re unable to do it now. There is no timeline for grief. Stay in the present. One day at a time is how we’re all getting through this weird time, and one day at a time is how you can work through your feelings.


With the world in turmoil, it’s really important to focus on positivity. Try to turn off or minimize your intake of the news as it can increase your stress level. Delight in the little things, take time to watch your grandchildren play, re-watch your favorite movie, read your favorite book, paint a picture, try to find some good in the world.


Learn coping techniques. There is a great wealth of information on the internet on how to use different means to deal with your sadness. If you’re not immediately able to meet with a professional, try writing your feelings down. It may be cathartic to journal your emotions. If your anguish gets too much to handle, try a grounding technique. Look around and identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel or touch, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.


You may find yourself needing more help - try to find support. You may want to talk about your feelings with someone other than friends or family - try connecting with a mental health professional. Instead of going to an office, many therapists are providing telehealth appointments, so you can meet virtually to discuss how you are feeling. There are also support groups and resources available to help work through your grief and connect you with others who are going through the same.


Please remember, if there is anything we can help with or questions we can answer please reach out to us at 781-595-1492.

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