Throughout the course of this pandemic, many of us have experienced loss. Dealing with loss during this time of social isolation can be confusing, lonely, and particularly difficult to overcome as we do not have the comfort of our friends and family to help. Moments of closure such as a funeral, wake, or even a long series of hugs from loved ones are missing during this time of crisis.
Avoiding isolation is an important step in dealing with grief in a healthy way, but how can we avoid isolation while maintaining social distancing?
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Your best effort is absolutely good enough. Dealing with grief is very personal and oftentimes private, and how you choose to cope is your decision to make alone. However, if you are finding it difficult to move forward consider some of the following tips:
- Physical exercise and relaxation to help improve sleep and concentration. The endorphins released during exercise can do wonders toward relieving depression and uplifting mood. However, don't forget to also take time for relaxation and healing for your body and mind. Activities such as yoga and meditation can help settle a restless brain.
- Keeping a journal to help during sleepless nights or to keep track of your daily routine. You can also journal good memories or stories that you want to remember about your loved one.
- Giving yourself permission to feel bad, but also to still experience moments of happiness. Despite your loss, it's important to try and let go of any guilt you feel and try and experience life with as much happiness as possible moving forward.
- Get plenty of rest and try and eat regular meals, even if you aren't feeling hungry or tired. Creating a routine for yourself is essential. Eating too often or not often enough is not good for your body and will exacerbate feelings of lethargy, weakness, and have a negative impact on your mental health. Additionally, lack of sleep can drastically increase stress levels while too much sleep can increase overall lethargy. Finding a balance is essential.
- Talk with people. Even if you can't see them personally, try giving a friend or family member a call or setting up a Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime call. If you don't want to talk about your grief, it's still important to experience social interaction. Grief can be isolating and very, very lonely.
- Consider talking to a counselor. Check with your insurance company and see if they offer mental health coverage. Many will cover virtual appointments for counselors and psychologists. Talking with a professional can be a great outlet for overwhelming thoughts and feelings that you may not want to share with friends and family.
- Join an online grief support group. There are numerous forums and blogs for people to anonymously talk about their grief and express their feelings. A few options are here, opens a new window, here, opens a new window, and here, opens a new window.
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Here is a list of books dealing with different kinds of losses including spouse, child, and pet:
Books on dealing with loss