You may have seen an article from the Harvard Business Review floating around your social media sites recently. If not, this article puts a name to one of the many emotions you’re likely feeling right now as everything has turned upside down: grief.
Grief is a heavy emotion with heavy associations. Grief is for those less frequent, really sad situations, like death. Because of this, it can feel odd, even inappropriate, to think that you’re grieving at first as we continue to self-isolate and cope with COVID-19. As the article states though, people are collectively grieving in some sort of way, and there’s no single type of grief. We’re all affected in some way and have experienced some degree of loss.
There’s, of course, the loss of normalcy and routine. Even if your routine involved going to shifts for a job you don’t care for or getting up way too early in the morning to go to classes, the extreme shift from commuting and moving around to being confined to your home can have you mourning those few moments of fresh air as you walk to a bus stop or commiserating with peers and/or coworkers. You might be grieving significant events that were scheduled, like graduation, prom, or weddings of people who you’re close to, making you miss out on major traditions and milestones.
The article even brings up anticipatory grief, or the grief we can feel when we get bad news and aren’t sure how things are going to play out or how we’re going to react when that situation finally happens. Some may be feeling this and the uncertainty when all of this is going to be over, or feeling unsafe because they aren’t sure if or when they’ll be directly affected.
So how do we process that grief? Well, there are the commonly known five stages of grief. The last one, acceptance, is the one where we admit this loss has occurred, and instead of just ignoring it or letting it affect us, we remind ourselves that we cannot change anything and life moves on. This isn’t to say that we can’t feel upset or angry, but finding a balance between thinking of the worst things happening and the good things that are still happening can help make this time a little easier. The article gives other suggestions too, like focusing on the things you can control, finding compassion for others as they process their own grief, and focusing on the present moment and the things immediately around you.
It’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed by the constant changes and uncertainties of just about everything right now. However, naming it (like grief), can be the first step in processing, adjusting, and coping as it continues.
How have you been coping with our current situation as it continues? Have you made any adjustments? What resources are you seeing on your social media platforms from others?