We're All Grieving--Support During This Uncertain Time
If you wanted to create a perfect storm, we’re living it.
So, yeah, it’s OK to grieve.
We’re all grieving something now...
...the loss of a job, financial security, loss of a family member due to the virus, loss of freedom to go where you want to go, when you want to go, the loss of being at home without every single family member there, loss of that trip you were going to go on, the inability to visit a loved one in the hospital, the inability to have neighbors, friends or family over, the loss of identity or purpose.
Or, the issues you were dealing with before all of this came crashing down.
The list goes on. Although we’re all “in the same boat,” there are different areas and points of view from that boat.
It’s OK if in the middle of the day, or late at night, you suddenly feel heart-broken, overwhelmed, or frustrated, or livid, and just want a hug. As mammals, the sense of touch is extremely important, particularly to babies.
Same holds true for adults.
--Whatever feelings come up, see if you can really unpack them and get the core of them. If you’re “angry,” try and see if you can get as specific as possible. Does it remind you of any other times in your life you're reliving from your past? This is a perfect time to dig deeper to prevent out of control emotional eating, drinking, drug use, porn, or anything else that is used as self-medication. My concern is the number of divorces, domestic violence incidents, and suicides that could increase.
--If possible, try to limit the amount of social media and news you allow in. The kicker is that we need to be connected and a need to belong, which social media can provide. However, it can easily suck us down rabbit holes. Personally, I continue to walk the line between being informed and getting sucked in. It’s a tight-rope walk and sometimes I fall.
Think of social media/news as a very rich, high caloric dessert.
A little bit is OK; too much will make you sick.
--Try to create structure in your life. I prefer the word "rhythm" to "routine," but whatever works for you, try to find it. Otherwise, the days will just run into each other. If you have kids, they thrive in it, even if they say they don’t. Those boundaries create safety, which is at a premium now.
I’ve found it helpful to have 3 daily intentions:
· Get outside and/or walk
· . Reach out to someone via email, text, phone call, etc.
· Work on my next novel, FINDING HER SPIRIT
--If you’re a position to do it, I also encourage you to use this time to do things that you normally wouldn’t have time for. Perhaps set a bigger intention…”By the end of April, I will…”
But, DO NOT JUDGE YOURSELF if you’re not there. Or, you don’t get there. Or, you find that you need to distract yourself by binging on that show. Or, it's 5:00pm and you haven't done squat. That's OK.
--Emotional/spiritual health needs to be fostered, too. Meditation, prayer, watching masses or church services online. Reaching out to others, particularly those who are alone, is important. If we don't find the need for connection in healthy ways, we'll find it in unhealthy ways. Channeling your energy into making masks, organizing Zoom gatherings, community virtual food drivers, anything to help others is a way to get out of our heads. Sometimes literally just texting someone and saying you're thinking about them is enough.
--Staying physically healthy is also important. Our bodies are meant to move, and if we’re dormant too long, it begin to affect us emotionally. Also, if you can get outside, even better. Nature and her beauty is so healing. Kids especially benefit from it.
--If you can, find some fun. Whatever that looks like for you. I love to sing, dance, and play piano. I also make sure to try to laugh every day, too. Fortunately, there are so many creative videos and memes out there that help. My two cats and husband are fodder, as well.
--Take this time to learn a new skill, language, or further develop one you already have. Or, clean out that basement or junk drawer that's been calling your name.
Again, be gentle with yourself if the only thing you can do is get up and maybe shower. Maybe not even that.
In the same way with grief and/or trauma, not everyone is at the same place at the same time. The trick is to stagger our moments and meltdowns, so we can be there for each other when we fall. It’s happened to me when I had a bad day, people were there for me.
Who knows what the next normal will look like? No one really knows. We’re all co-creating this as we go along. This experience brings out what it really means to be human, as the stories of kindness, compassion, and altruism are off the charts. My heart grows in leaps and bounds. My deepest thanks to the medical community, retail workers, truckers, any delivery workers for are keeping us afloat during this time.
I picture it as we’re all walking along a path. Sometimes one of us stumbles but doesn’t fall. There will be times, however, when we really do fall. Then, we will be there to lift each other up.
From six or more feet away, of course. 😊
Tracie Barton-Barrett, MS, NCC, LPC
Author of BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS