Humans are social beings and the social distancing that we have experienced throughout this pandemic has been difficult for everyone.
Those who have lost a loved one in the midst of COVID-19 may be dealing with their grief and sorrow alone, socially isolated without the physical comfort of having their family and friends by their side. As social connections are limited, bereaved individuals are forced to find new ways to honour their loved ones, learn to cope with loss and move forward.
We’d like to share some strategies for coping with your grief during this time of isolation:
Acknowledge your pain
Though you may be physically isolated or may not feel comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances it is important to express your feelings of grief. You can do this by phone, virtually or physically distanced with a family member, friend or Supportive Care team member. Now is the time to lean on people who care about you and to accept help when it is offered. Acknowledging your pain is an important step in the healing process.
Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions
Take this time to self-reflect. Try to understand if this is a positive, negative or neutral feeling. Where am I feeling this in my body? What is happening right now that may be causing these feelings to arise? How can I allow myself to experience this feeling in a manageable way? Gaining insight and understanding into your feelings can empower you and support you in processing your grief.
Understand that your grieving process will be unique
Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel, including yourself. Allow yourself to feel what you feel without judgement. It is ok to cry, to be sad or angry, to feel lost and to have moments of joy. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, despite what others may tell you.
Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically
At this time it is easy to get settled into sedentary habits. Set aside some time to be active such as walking or doing stretches. Eating regularly and well is also critical to your well-being. Remember the relationship between your physical health and your mental health.
Maintain hobbies and use creative outlets
You may find comfort in activities that bring you joy or remind you of your loved one. Exploring creative ways to express yourself, such as art or journaling may also assist in processing your grief.
Plan ahead for things that may be difficult
Holidays, anniversaries or birthdays can be very hard when your loved one is not there for your traditions. It can be helpful to choose what activities you think you can handle, what celebrations you are not able to attend at this time and how you may want to acknowledge your loved one on that occasion. Communicating your choices to others is important as they may also be grieving. When others understand what your needs are and why, they may find it easier to accept your choices. Lastly, there may be a need to plan and compromise as everyone’s grief is unique. When families members are all grieving they may have to talk about their needs and find compromises in order to make holidays manageable for everyone.
Our Supportive Care team is here to help you in your grief journey. Learn more by visiting our website or connecting with Program Co-ordinator, Sally at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-354-3113 ext. 2406.