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Coping with Grief during COVID-19

April 05, 2020

Coping with Grief during COVID-19

 

People usually think of grief happening from the loss of a loved one. But grief can happen from any major change or loss. Grief can be experienced as feelings of shock, sadness, anger, and confusion. Grief can make people feel overwhelmed, lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, sleep less or more, or have changes in their appetite. These are normal responses to loss or change.

During COVID-19, many people may be experiencing grief because of the loss of their way of life before the closures and social distancing regulations. People can even feel grief for plans that have been delayed or canceled. These changes may seem less important compared to the loss of life, but the reality is that life suddenly doesn’t feel normal anymore. This is a big change and many people are grieving.

Below is a list of some things that you can do to help get through the grief:

  • Reach out to family or friends by phone, text, email, or video calls. It helps to talk about it. Part of grief is thinking that no one else is feeling the same things. When you talk about it, you see that you are not alone.
  • Exercise at home to music or an online video. Exercising can help your mind and body stay healthy.
  • Go for a walk. Whenever possible, it is important to go for a walk, run, or bike ride.
  • Try to keep up a healthy diet and remember to eat regularly. Taking care of your body helps your mind stay well too.
  • Reach out for professional help. Many counselors and therapists are offering phone or video call appointments. Professionals can help in handling strong feelings.

Be kind to yourself and others. Find ways to connect as much as possible. Remember, we will get through this together.

 

Losing a Loved One during COVID-19

 

Grief during COVID-19 is more difficult because we aren’t able physically be there for one another as we deal with the emotions. Feelings of sadness are normal after the death of a loved one, but During COVID-19, there is the additional challenge of social distancing regulations, and even quarantine, that prevent us from attending the service.

Traditions of grieving together and holding a funeral or memorial are helpful in processing the thoughts and emotions that come from such experiences. We are not able to share grief in ways that we have in the past. It can be helpful to find other ways of supporting one another during COVID-19.

 

Below are some suggestions that may help:

  • If you are planning the service for a loved one who has passed, inquire about setting up streaming or video that you and others can watch from home. If you are not the one arranging the service, ask if streaming, listening to, or watching the service is possible.
  • Look into online support groups for grief and loss.
  • Arrange a virtual service for family and friends to share stories, memories, and feelings.
  • Plan a memorial, celebration, or other service to commemorate your loved one after the changes because of COVID-19 has lessened. For example, you can look into the types of places you would want to hold the service, make a list of who to invite, and what you would like to say. Prepare for when you can put these plans into action.
  • Think of ways that you can perform a ceremony or commemorate your loved one from home. You can try different things, like lighting a candle, planting flowers on your patio, or creating a commemorative photo journal can help.

These suggestions cannot replace the traditions of mourning together, but in such unprecedented times, we must search for solutions in any form possible.

 

Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call us at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.

 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/grief

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2691160/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/coping-after-disaster-trauma

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/grief