Coping with grief and loss in the wake of COVID-19.
Tips from an online therapist.
Life as we know it has turned upside down over the last few months.
We are currently living through a pandemic. Schools, restaurants, and all non-essential businesses are closed. We aren’t supposed to leave our houses. We can’t see our family and friends. People are contracting the virus and many are sadly dying, without their family to comfort them; without a proper funeral.
It’s a time of tremendous uncertainty and grief. Everyone is experiencing feelings of loss in one way or another. Whether you’re mourning a loved one, were let go from a job, or had your graduation cancelled, the sense of loss is real.
But life goes on. There are ways to cope and things you can do to withstand this new (but temporary) sense of normalcy.
There is no tiptoeing around the fact that real lives are being lost at an alarming rate. Coping with death is never an easy feat, whether it’s during a pandemic or not. However, more and more people are experiencing the unexpected deaths of close loved ones. During normal times, we typically gather with family and friends for support, to laugh, and to cry. With the social distancing rules that are currently in place, we are unable to engage in regular grieving practices.
That said, it doesn’t mean you have to grieve alone. Instead of retreating into isolation, reach out to others… especially those who are also grieving. Maintaining an emotional connection with those who provide love and support is incredibly important during these difficult times. While you might not physically be together, you can spend time in each other’s presence virtually. Share your favorite memories and stories of your loved one, and encourage others to do the same. Nobody should have to face such intense grief by themselves.
“One of the most important things to remember while dealing with loss, no matter what it is you’re grieving, is that your feelings are valid.“
Another loss many people are experiencing during this pandemic is in regard to their job.
A number of businesses were forced to downsize or even close completely, leaving many people unemployed. No job means no income, and no income means stress! Financial instability is plaguing many families right now, and this extra worry can take a toll on physical and mental health.
Research the available resources such as rent relief, try to reduce or cut all non-essential spending, and apply for assistance if needed. We’re all in this together, so let’s support one another during these difficult times.
A different sense of loss, but one that is legitimately distressing is a loss of celebrations.
Graduating seniors missed out on the ceremony that commemorates years of hard work, coming of age traditions such as Bar Mitzvahs are cancelled, people are getting married, babies are being born, and so much more.
While celebrating during a pandemic can be tricky, there are appropriate ways to go about it.
Set up a Zoom call with family and friends, post on social media to reach even more people, or create a little celebration with the people with whom you’re quarantined. When the time comes, these events can be celebrated accordingly. But for now, celebrate safely!
One of the most important things to remember while dealing with loss, no matter what it is you’re grieving, is that your feelings are valid. This situation is not normal, and there is no “right” way to react.
Remember to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
Some coping practices you can try on your own include journaling, meditation, and exercise. However, you should try reaching out to your loved ones for support. Coping becomes easier when you don’t feel like you’re taking on the world alone.
Online therapy is also an easy and convenient way to connect with a professional from the comfort of your own home. Especially if your coping methods haven’t been working, there is never any shame in asking for help. At Synergy eTherapy, our specialty is online counseling, both before and during the Coronavirus. We are here to help! During such unprecedented times, treat yourself and others with kindness. We are all in this together.