Grief & Loss During COVID
Written By: Michael Obregon LMFT
This past year has been challenging for everyone. It has been difficult to continuously adapt to the several changes that have happened throughout this pandemic. Loss can manifest in different ways such as: loss of social connections, loss of freedom, event changes, job loss, or the loss of a loved one. To a certain extent it can be said that the grieving process itself has been lost. The stay-at-home orders and social distancing have not allowed people to grieve in the same way they were able to before. During these unsettling times, it is important to continue our journey in grieving within our culture and seek support.
Since grief and loss are often sudden and unpredictable, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different stages of grief and loss. Kübler-Ross explained that most people experience grief and loss in 5 different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, grief and loss does not always look the same for everyone and we each experience our own grief and loss in our own unique way with different feelings and emotions.
Some common reactions to grief and loss can include:
· Shock, disbelief, denial, numbness
· Anxiety, fear
· Distress, overwhelmed
· Anger, frustration, irritation
· Periods of sadness, isolation, guilt
· Loss of sleep and loss of appetite
Tips to grieving/ Coping skills
· Recognize your loss
o Recognize your loss for what it is.
· Acknowledge the loss and the pain
o Accept the feelings that come along with it. The good and the bad. Accepting how you feel is not always easy, but it is part of the process.
o Denying the feelings of pain does not lessen the pain. It can led to a longer grieving process and can led to your feelings and emotions being expressed in an unexpected way.
Your feelings are valid.
o Express yourself, whether it come in the form of anger or sadness.
o Do not deny yourself from feeling a certain way.
o Remember that grieving is not linear and that you can go back and forth between different stages
Channel your energy
o Put those negative feelings into use in a healthy way.
o Anger- Participate in different forms of exercise, journaling, express yourself through art.
Be vulnerable to yourself and others.
o Self Help/ Self Care- Eating even when you do not want to, hygiene, exercise, sleep
o Others helping you- support from others, group chat, Zoom/ FaceTime with friends and family, games, seeking professional help from a therapist
o Even though you may feel alone and want to be alone, does not mean you have to be alone.
o Let people know what you need from them and how they can help.
Within time, allow yourself for experience happy moments with self-care activities. Do not allow guilt to overwhelm you and prevent you from regaining a sense of satisfaction. Remember within time you will adjust, heal, and recover.
Everyone grieves differently, your grieving process may differ than others, and everyone takes different lengths of time to grieve. Healing is not limited to time, it takes time to heal, and the healing process is not always linear. Heal at your own pace as our usual coping mechanisms that we used to resort to may no longer be as effective as they once were. We must find new ways to connect with others and take the time needed to grieve and take care of ourselves one day at a time.
Written By: Michael Obregon LMFT 115421