The COVID-19 pandemic changed daily routines, limited social interactions and really has us feeling a little insecure. Mental health experts say it’s ok to feel sad about these changes. Grief is a natural response to loss, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or loss of our sense of normalcy.
Clinical Health Psychologist Amy Sullivan explains grief is going to be a factor with these changes and it’s important to properly process emotions and stay connected to people in other ways.
How does a person deal with difficult or unexpected feelings? Here are some good ideas that may help us all cope better:
Look through the lens of griefThe stages of grief can provide a helpful framework for navigating complex emotions. Grief stages include: denial, anger, bargaining, despair and acceptance. Grief can come in waves and change constantly – our feelings can do the same. Realize this is normal.
Acknowledge the lossPeople are experiencing many types of losses right now – knowing someone sick with the coronavirus; having a friend or relative become unemployed; or missing hugs from loved ones.
Feel what you’re feelingIt’s important to accept our feelings and work through them – take time to normalize them, but then move onto a more positive place.
Identify your best coping mechanismsFind positive coping skills that work for you. Some examples might include:
If you can’t handle these feelings on your own, please seek mental health help.
Fight the urge to disengageThis is a tough one. For those who tend to withdraw when times get tough, staying connected is a powerfully- positive coping mechanism. Contact a mental health provider for assistance or take advantage of Plano’s free resources.
Focus on what you can controlThere is only so much in our control. Anticipating negative events could bring anxiety or fear, which can be debilitating. Be aware of what you can and cannot control, and know the difference. Choose how much news or social media you’re exposed to; decide how much physical activity you get or what types of food you eat. Be mindful of daily choices and try to focus on the moment.
Be open to joyFind joy in the small things – fresh air, a hello wave from a stranger or a cheerful virtual visit!
Adapted from an article published on health.clevelandclinic.org.