It’s hard to believe how much our lives have changed in the past two weeks. Like many of you, I’m staying home and figuring out how to proceed in this "new normal" environment. Thanks to technology, I’m able to see clients either by phone or via teleconferencing (I’m using a HIPAA compliant teletherapy platform). But I missed my grandsons' birthday celebration.
It occurred to me that coping with the loss of our old way of life is similar in many ways to coping with the loss of a loved one – they’re both examples of unwelcome change. Both beg the question “How will I go on?” And both give rise to so many challenging feelings, such as anger, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and uncertainty.
I believe we need to grieve our current losses just as we would any other kind of loss, through accepting, adapting, meaning making, and replenishing.
Accepting means acknowledging our reality. I’ve heard so many people say this pandemic is surreal, and I know what they mean! We’ve never lived through anything like this and it seems kind of impossible, yet here it is. Accepting the unacceptable means communicating with others to discuss your thoughts and feelings. It can also mean documenting your experience through writing, photography, or any other creative endeavor.
Adapting includes finding ways of navigating our new lifestyles. Perhaps you’re getting more comfortable using technology or are shopping more online. With more people at home, we are all challenged to create workable schedules that provide some sense of order to our days. Are you cooking or baking more? How is your exercise routine adapting?
Meaning making is the way we try to make sense of our reality. It can include the use of humor (have you seen some funny Facebook posts?) I’ve also noticed the suggestion that perhaps this is forcing us to slow down and appreciate family and friends like never before. And maybe now we’ll pay more attention to saving the earth’s precious resources. We certainly are appreciating our health care workers, delivery drivers, truckers, farmers, and the restaurant industry more than I can ever remember!
Replenishing means good self-care and making sure you’re not depleted. Worry itself can be depleting, so this is the time to take extra good care of yourself. Pay attention to good sleep hygiene, exercise, and nutrition. And use my Personal Replenisher Checklist to find your own antidotes to depletion.
Here are a few other free resources I like:
Immunity Emergency Kit – from Lee Holden Qigong. The link will take you to a description of the 4 video classes and a sign-up form.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Coronavirus – from What’s Your Grief.
Coronavirus Sanity Guide – from Ten Percent Happier.
Stay safe; stay healthy, and stay in touch!
Wishing you peace and healing,
Read The 4 Facets of Grief
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Essays on Grief Resilience