Working Through Grief in IsolationLindsay Chambers
If you’ve been feeling unsettled and out of sorts due to coronavirus, you’re not alone. The rapid transmission of the pandemic has altered our world on both a micro and macro scale, and some of these changes might be permanent. Not only do you have your health and that of your loved ones to worry about during the spread of a potentially fatal disease, but you are likely also dealing with a profound sense of loss – of normalcy, of predictability, of structure. These are undoubtedly frightening times to live through, and the need to stay isolated could be making it worse. What are some healthy ways to grieve during COVID-19?
Accept That What You’re Feeling Is Normal
If left unaddressed, grief in isolation can adversely affect every aspect of your well-being – physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual. Give yourself space and time to mourn and work on your feelings. Grief is a complex emotion that can have daily ups and downs. You might start your day in one place, only to end up feeling completely different by lunchtime. Spend time getting in touch with these various feelings. You can’t heal what you don’t allow yourself to be aware of.
Keep a Grief Journal
The trauma of sudden loss can be especially challenging to work through. Journaling is both a creative outlet and a meditative practice. It’s also an excellent habit to adopt for your mental well-being. You can keep a traditional pen-and-paper journal, or go digital, depending on what feels more natural to you. There’s also no rule that says your grief journal entries must be long to be beneficial. You don’t even need to write complete sentences if you don’t want to – jotting down a few bullet points can still be beneficial for reducing your anxiety and grief. Be sure to note the positive alongside the negative. For example, despite the need to remain in isolation, perhaps you’ve been able to spend more quality time with your partner and children, or you’ve had the opportunity to practice a new skill.
Maintain Social Connections
Loss of social structure is another challenge unique to the new world coronavirus has created. Like birds, horses, dogs and many other animals, humans instinctively gather in close-knit groups. However, now that we’re limiting our time spent with others in hopes of keeping our communities healthy, you may find yourself feeling lonely or missing friends and relatives. You can still stay in touch with loved ones by using technology to your advantage. For instance, you can organize a shared meal/video chat together on an app such as Skype or Houseparty, or use the Netflix Party browser extension to watch a movie together.
Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health Amid COVID-19
These recommendations for dealing with grief in isolation can be especially valuable for those who are living with pre-existing mental health conditions during these extraordinary circumstances. If you need additional guidance with issues such as heightened anxiety, depression and trauma, the mental health professionals at Serene Behavioral Health remain dedicated to serving you. Contact us anytime for compassionate guidance.