The COVID-19 pandemic has been a humbling, harrowing experience for people across the planet. We’ve had our lives altered in ways big and small. While hope runs high as vaccine distribution accelerates and a return to a form of normalcy is on the horizon, many are still dealing with loss and grief as the pandemic continues on for now.
What has been the cost of COVID?
Loss during the pandemic has come in many forms. You may have experienced one or more of these:
- The death of loved ones.
- The total loss or reduction of work and income.
- The loss of companionship and support networks.
- Day-to-day normalcy and pleasures such as going to the movies, traveling, and stress-free dining out and grocery runs.
With that loss comes grief. Grief is a normal response to these losses and each of us experiences it in different ways. Grief can manifest as anxiety, sadness, anger, distress, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, and more.
How to handle grief during COVID
Allow yourself to grieve
There’s no shame in being sad and no need to put on a brave facade when faced with grief. Grief is a totally normal response to loss and you shouldn’t suppress those feelings.
While going through the journey of grief, there are things you can do to make the process easier.
Join a support group
Know you’re not alone in looking for ways to cope with the grief and loss that has come from the pandemic. Grief support groups allow you to connect with others who’ll understand what you’re experiencing. A COVID-related support group can be a supportive, therapeutic way to learn about new coping strategies as you work through your grief.
Take care of yourself day-to-day
When dealing with grief, and especially when dealing with it while stuck at home, it’s easy to pull up the covers and stay in bed or on the couch for days at a time. Taking care of your mind and body is essential, though, and there are a number of ways you can do this:
- Keep your body strong by developing healthy eating habits.
- Stay fit and give yourself feel-good endorphins by exercising.
- Open a good book. Check out my recommended readings for those grieving.
- Try journaling. Research shows that writing while grieving can improve mood and well-being.
- Manage your environment and give yourself a pleasant sensory boost by trying aromatherapy while grieving.
- Connect with friends and family. Even if you can’t safely be together in person, make the effort to stay in touch with loved ones via phone or video calls.
COVID-19 grief support group
I’ll be hosting COVID-related support group series for New York and New Jersey residents throughout the year. The groups are limited to six people at a time and will meet via Zoom weekly. Learn more and register for a group.
More COVID-19 grief resources
Need immediate help or seeking more information on dealing with COVID-related grief? Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s site (CDC.gov) for further resources, including help specific to children, parents, teens, and more.
Photo Credit: educadormarcossv, Pixabay