Coping with Loss during Pandemic
Pandemic has created many chaos and uncertainties in our lives. Together as a nation, and on an individual level of our lives, we were forced to adapt and change very quickly. We can all agree that this was a crisis that has taken one or more pieces from every one of us. Perhaps you have lost your job, lost a loved one through illness, or lost a chance to celebrate special achievements (graduation, birthdays, wedding..etc) due to the Pandemic.
These are no small losses to grieve for and it can feel overwhelming to feel the entirety of the emptiness alone. You may find yourself feeling the grievance of these huge aspects of your lives, thinking, and replaying in your mind of things could and should have been.
There are also small changes in our day to day that you might not have realized you are grieving for. Often in my day, I hear myself saying things like, “I miss our Saturday hikes”, “I wish I can get a haircut soon” “I want to go on a walk with my coworkers during lunchtime” “I just want to talk to you in person” or “The takeout food just isn’t good enough”. If you’ve ever found yourself making similar statements as well, you are also grieving a loss.
These are subtle ways that we are expressing the frustration of limitations, and fighting with consistent reminders of all the meaningful things that have been lost in our lives.
Grief is a very normal response to a loss and there is no correct timeline or structure for going through grief. It is an individual experience in which you learn to cope with the loss and find new meaning in the loss and life thereafter.
Grief is a journey to restore hope and cope with your pains.
Through these unprecedented times, it is important for us to recognize all that we’ve lost, and create a new grounding to live with the grieving pains. As you journey through finding a new sense of hope, I hope that you find these tips to be helpful.
1. Recognize and write down your emotions
One of the hardest things you might find yourself while grieving is the uncertainty of it all. You have many questions that no one can answer and it can be frustrating to sit back and wait for the unknown. No one likes to feel out of control. There are many emotions associated with grief and many cycles of emotions you will be going through. Allow yourself to recognize them and write them down in a journal. This can help you to process the emotions better by getting it out of your mind and into physical words.
2. Try to stay active
It is very easy for those waves of sadness and sorrow to take over our activities. When they do, our bodies might respond by shutting down. The physical needs of our body can be taken into the back seat while your emotions take full control of your day. It will not be easy, but try to stay active. You can start with smaller activities, such as going out on a walk, sitting at a park, or attending to your garden. Whatever keeps your body moving, see if you can build it in your daily routine. This will help the stress and emotional pain that’s carried within your body, to be alleviated.
3. Give your emotions the room to fully be negative and positive.
Sometimes you might feel guilty, for being too happy or being too sad. You might be telling yourself that you don’t deserve to be too sad, that you haven’t lost too much compared to other people, or that you don’t deserve to be happy because you haven’t earned it again. Guilt has a way of creeping in on us especially when we are grieving. You and your emotions absolutely deserve a place in this world and in your current life. Allow yourself to feel. Try not to judge your emotions and let them exist. Be angry and be excited too.
4. Take things one thing at a time.
Once we begin to assess all that’s been lost, we begin to feel overwhelmed. There seems to be too much to attend to and too much to get done, even too many emotions to process. Take it slow. This will take time and it’s okay to go at your own pace. If it helps, create a list of your goals and needs for the day, make realistic goals, and feel accomplished in the things that you are able to do for each and every day.
5. Ask for help and find support.
Grieving is an individual process that has no timeline. This does not mean that you should be isolating yourself through the process of grieving. In fact, one of the most important aspects of finding hope and processing through the loss is understanding that you are not alone. Others’ grieving time and process might look different, but your anger and sadness can still be validated and should be accepted from you and from others in your community. Find people around you to get support from. Ask for the things you need from those around you and discover the newly instilled hope and understanding from others that have are also suffering and grieving.