Covid 19 has reached new milestones not just in mass casualties, but in consequential losses as we grapple with epic rates of change. From grieving the loss of a loved one, or tangible losses like graduations, friendships within classrooms, being furloughed from work, the ability to go anywhere as we continue to shelter in place, or even a loss of safety in the context of recent community issues. Grief is a response to loss to which a bond or affection was formed. Simply put, grief is love. A love that exists across multiple dimensions including spiritual, philosophical, and social dimensions. It’s an experience we will all have just because we exist.
Grief brings with it many different emotions like sadness, guilt, disbelief, confusion, shock and anger. The emotions have often been described as a rollercoaster and can quickly leave its mark emotionally and physically, whether or not you realize it. Unfortunately, loss and change have always been a part of our history and always will be, but we have learned some fundamental ways to deal with it.
Here are some tips to help you embrace your grief and loss:
- Take your time. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel as though you’re taking too long to process your loss or that you have to get over it and “move on”. There is no time frame on how you experience grief. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. With all the emotions that you experience, acknowledge and feel it as much as you may want to hide from it or make it go away. We can’t get around the pain, but can work our way through it and begin to create new meaning and experiences that work around your loss.
- Give yourself credit. Don’t beat yourself up for the way you feel about the loss. Acknowledge your growth as you progress through your healing process. Allow this to happen naturally. (For example, if you cried all day for two days straight and on the 3rd day you only cried twice, acknowledge that and try to look for other signs that there is life outside of sadness).
- Get out and get active. Be sure to do something physical even if it is just going for a walk outside. Grief and you can coexist together. Remember to take time to care for your body, mind and soul. Physical movement will help with those difficult feelings.
- The language of grief. Grief wants to be heard, validated and supported. It needs to pour out. Talk about your unique losses with loved ones, a friend or maybe even seek out a support group or community events like a grief circle. Pour it on to the pages of a journal or through music or art. While grief is an inevitable part of life, navigating it can be challenging and it’s ok to ask for help if you get stuck. A therapist can help you find a way to pick up the pieces and move through this process if you are struggling to find your way. For some, its easier to be fully open with a non judgmental stranger.
The 5 stages of grief, according to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Although these are the common stages, there is no guarantee that you experience them all or in any order. For the most part, most of us will go through a loss and never need a therapist, but it is also ok to seek professional support to assist you in coping if you are having a hard time on your own and the grief seems more persistent with feelings of hopelessness, despair, trouble with daily tasks and difficulty feeling pleasure or joy.
Reminders when coping with grief: https://omh.ny.gov/omhweb/covid-19-resources/coping-with-grief-reminders.pdf
For families dealing with the loss of a child: www.copefoundation.org
To find a GriefShare support group or event near you: https://www.griefshare.org/
Connect with Suffolk/Nassau NABSW for upcoming grief circles: on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nassausuffolkabsw
For the loss and hurt related to social injustice embrace healing habits through the 21 day challenge: https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge
Kensho Psychotherapy Services is here to offer you support and help through your difficult time. For more information visit our site: http://www.amandafludd.com.