Grief During the Pandemic

Grief During the Pandemic

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.” -Mark Twain

Every individual experiences grief differently. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed various forms of loss. For example; unemployment, loss of capacity for enjoyable activities, inability to connect in person, specific milestones like graduation, wedding, anniversary, and vacation, being missed and so on. These things were a normal part of our routine.

Drastic changes due to the Covid-19 restrictions have increased feelings of guilt. Some of us try to minimize guilt by saying “we are grieving for trivial things, this is less important than loss of life”. Continuously pushing ourselves like this can prolong and complicate grief. Grief is a universal emotion which has nothing right or wrong about it. All losses are significant.

So, why is loss of routine difficult for us? It is because we are social beings that have a need to be connected. Connection need not take the form of in-person always. There could be places, things and certain environments that ground us. We have subtle connections due to our memories in these places. For some of us, our work culture has shaped us drastically. As a result of unemployment, we could feel a loss of identity, leading to identity crisis. Unexpected endings can cause strong emotions like grief to arise. It takes mental energy and time to acknowledge what has happened and move forward.

When “things are too much” to handle, we prefer to keep to ourselves, avoid interaction with others and feel hopeless.  A deep sense of emptiness lingers. This could be prolonged during Covid-19 because we lack the necessary social support systems, friends and family to grieve with us.  Grief can elicit various reactions like feeling numb, angry, lost, trouble sleeping and eating. Offering help to others, acknowledging the loss by sharing memories, appreciating your existing relationships are positive ways to cope with grief. Remember, we do not have to do this alone.

A few steps that could help you to cope with grief are:

  1. Try not to be hard on yourself. Allow yourself to feel sad or cry.
  2. Pets can provide emotional support.
  3. People who live together may consider playing board games and exercising outdoors.
  4. People who live alone or are separated from their loved ones may consider interacting through phone calls virtually.
  5. Think about your strengths and coping skills.How can they help you move forward? Remember the journey. If you’ve lost your job, you don’t have to let the way it ended define the whole experience. Consider some of your good memories and the big picture.
  6. Seek help from qualified mental health professionals. Grief Counseling is available to share your feelings in a confidential space with a Counselor.

As you focus on the things you can control, your feelings of grief are likely to lessen.

If you find yourself unable to move through your grief on your own, please reach out for professional help. We at LeanonMe will be happy to help you.

AUTHOR: Sneha, Associate Counsellor

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