The coronavirus pandemic has been canceling everything from trips and weddings to summer festivals and dinner plans.
With every cancellation comes a variety of emotions; disappointment, melancholy, anger, fear. But let’s call it what it really is- grief.
Grief involves any type of loss. The restrictions of COVID 19 have created a complete loss of normalcy for most people, recognizing things are different and likely will never be the same.
“I can’t believe we have to wear masks everywhere now.”
“I don’t know when I’ll be on a plane again.”
Anticipatory grief is rooted in anxiety and the fear of the unknown. It is the discomfort felt from the belief that things should be a certain way when they are not; while being unable to focus on the present and instead, fearing the worst-case scenarios for the future.
“What if it’s like this FOREVER?”
“This isn’t how this summer was supposed to be!”
How do you manage your emotions around grief?
Try developing a few easy to use skills when negative thoughts take over can help you feel better.
Mindfulness skills can help you come into the present. When anxiety is high, try these:
Breathe deeply in through your nose for 5 seconds, breathe out through your mouth for 5 seconds.
Name five things that start with the letter M in your room.
Identify one of each; something you can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear.
Focus on what you can control.
Remind yourself what is within your power and reduce your focus on things that aren’t.
Be compassionate to yourself.
Acknowledge your emotions without a sense of shame or embarrassment. We’re all just attempting to deal with a wild and unexpected situation.
Connect with others! Staying socially distant doesn’t mean you must avoid people.
Technology can bridge the gap between reduced in-person gatherings. We are inherently social creatures and need each other to get through this. Remember Spectrum Health’s Community of Caring has daily opportunities that are FREE, fun, and open to everyone.
What has helped you during this difficult time?
Let us know and we’ll feature them in an upcoming story.
Wear a mask. Wash your hands. We’ll get through this.
By Jessica Okoniewski
Clinical Director, Springville location
Spectrum Health and Human Services