Corona virus grief is a real everyday reality that is a part of our daily lives. No matter what phase of COVID emotions you’re dealing with, there are ways that you can start to process the grief. Knowing that you’re not alone in your thoughts and emotions is one way to figure out how to start and complete the grieving process. Your feelings of grief are normal and are important to acknowledge.
It is important to understand how complicated grief can be. Understanding all the stages of grief can be a lot of information to take in and understand, but doing so can help to bring about a sense of safety as well. Our response to loss and the missing of our normal routine is enough to have us all feeling a bit down and under the weather during this time.
40 Days in the Hole: Self-Care in the Time of the Corona Pandemic Phone calls and social media conversations can be fun, but there’s something special about the physical presence of being able to be around the ones that you love. Since this year isn’t allowing that, it’s understandable that we’re all feeling a loss of life and the people that were once active in it.
Any type of loss is hard to process right now and shouldn’t be something that you ignore. No matter if it’s a job loss or a loss of life, all of these emotions are going to be followed by anticipatory grief and ultimately take a toll on your physical health.
What is the most common misconception associated with coronavirus grief?
This can vary depending on who you ask but there does seem to be a big disconnect between what people find as “appropriate” to grieve about. This is why it’s important to understand that there are many different types of grief and they don’t all fit into one nice little package. Considering primary losses and secondary losses are also important as well because those are going to trigger different grief responses, too.
Symptoms of Corona Virus Grief
We’re living in unprecedented times and might not recognize some of these signs as coronavirus grief symptoms. There are many different signs of grief to be aware of. It’s important to educate yourself about them all because some of them aren’t as obvious as others.
This can be a hard one to identify during COVID since everyone is pretty much already isolating all the time as is. But if you’re noticing that you or someone you know is staying low key more than normal, it should be an indicator that they might be needing some help.
Depression is very real right now for millions of people. So much so that it’s become a bigger issue than ever before. The feelings and thoughts of depression can literally creep up and take over thoughts easily so it’s important to understand the signs to see if when it starts.
The feelings of high anxiety are pretty common this year. Parents and working professionals are feeling this on a daily basis. And there does come a point when the feelings and thoughts that are triggered by anxiety to have to be acknowledged to be able to move on and get help.
4. Suicidal Thoughts
Sadly, with so much isolation, many people feel helpless, useless, lonely, and don’t see a way out. And when suicidal thoughts appear, they might not feel safe to share those feelings.
Anytime that you or someone that you know have suicidal thoughts, it’s time to seek professional help immediately. Even under normal circumstances, this would absolutely be the case. Thoughts about self-harm are serious and need to be treated as so. These emotions don’t need to be looked down upon in any way shape or form.
Stages of Corona Virus Grief
There are 7 main stages of grief that we all are going to go through on any given day. Any time that there is an unexpected death or a feeling of collective grief, our mind is automatically going to start processing and compartmentalizing those thoughts and feelings.
The main stages of grief are:
- Shock and denial
- Pain and guilt
- Anger and bargaining
- Depression, reflection, and loneliness
- The upward turn
- Acceptance and hope
Some people may start in the first phase and work their way through while others may start in the middle and have a whole different process. But ultimately, these are the main types of grief that all people go through during any type of traumatic situation or experience.
Types of Covid Grief
Now that we’ve talked about the stages and various things to look out for when dealing with Covid grief, let’s talk about all the various types of grief that could be a possibility as well.
1. Grieving loss of life
There is a strong possibility that you or someone that you know will lose someone near and dear to them because of Covid. When this happens, there will be a period of mourning and adjustment to understand that and process those thoughts.
This type of grieving will typically take longer to heal because it’s a deeper cut based on the personal connection that was based upon an emotional bond and love.
2. The grief of job loss
While this type of grief is really a bummer, it’s not one that has to be something that runs deep for years. If a job loss happens because of the shutdowns or the Covid restrictions, then this is a new reality and something to process through and move on.
Understand that your current job is no longer an option and just means that you’ll have to get out and seek new employment elsewhere during this time. You can be sad that you lost your job but don’t let it be something that holds you back from moving on and potentially finding someone that is an even better fit.
3. Grief of loneliness
Being lonely is a hard feeling. Now that the country is experiencing another round of lockdowns and more social distancing measures, it’s a safe bet to say that just about everyone is starting to feel a little bit lonely at this point in time.
You might feel that there’s nothing you can do about it, but cheer up: while it’s harder to hang out with people face to face, you can always pick up the phone and call a friend, message someone on Facebook, Skype a family member, and even sit down and write some notes. I promise you’ll feel better and so will your recipients.
4. Grieving a peaceful home
You might actually be surprised that people are torn right now about having everyone be at home together, all the time. This is because some people really enjoy having their home a certain way, after so many years of that not being an option.
When kids are little, there’s a lot of noise and chaos that fills the rooms and halls. But as those kids grow up and move out, it’s a time when the parents take back the home and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, too.
This was all before quarantining and lockdowns occurred and now more families are hanging out together, working from home, doing school online, and being in each other’s face more than ever. While many of us are cherishing having the entire family around, this is not the case in dysfunctional families. If that is you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend, your therapist, or, in case of abuse, get out and find a safer place to live.
It might seem like a “petty” grieving process compared to some of the others, but it doesn’t make it any less valid.
5. Grieving the loss of routine
This is an everyday grieving process that doesn’t look to be ending any time soon. People love their routines and they love sticking to them. So, when things happen that get them off those routines, it can make the entire day, week, or even month a very rocky road.
While it’s easy to give up on your good routines, you CAN make new ones that are just as good, or even better. WE need to become more adaptable, more flexible, so we can thrive even in harsh times like today.
6. Grieving Freedoms
One other major concern that people are dealing with is that they’re dealing with their loss of freedoms. Feeling as though they’re being locked in their homes, or unable to see family and friends is just really starting to take its toll on how people are seeing their own lives.
There is no longer the option to “do as we please” as impending lockdowns, curfews, and businesses are being monitored and shut down.
Ways to deal with Corona grief
Adapting to loss and figuring out how to deal with these feelings of grief are going to be major components to think about and overcome. The process of being able to deal with Covid’s grief isn’t going to be the same for everyone, either.
While there are many reasons to get professional help in dealing with these thoughts and emotions, there are a few things that you can easily do at home to help you mentally prepare as well.
Make certain that you’re fueling your brain and body with good nutrients and exercise so that it’s functioning in the best way it possibly can. Even getting outside for 10-15 daily and soaking in some Vitamin D is a great way to boost your mental health and improve your mood almost instantly.
Picking up the phone and staying in touch with family and friends is also extremely important during this time. The more that you can communicate with those that you love, the more that you’ll be in a better space mentally as well.
When you’re dealing with these thoughts and emotions over Covid grief, it’s important to take the time and make certain that you’re doing all you can for yourself. What are you going to do first to ensure that you’re prioritizing your own health and happiness during this time?