During this time, many of us are grieving. Some may be grieving the death of a loved one; some may be grieving other types of loss like the loss of a job or cancelled special events, such as graduations and weddings. No matter what type of grief you are experiencing, it’s important for us to learn healthy ways to cope with grief and how to support one another during this time of physical isolation.
Coping with Grief
What are some ways we can cope with our grief? First, remember to practice self-care. Set aside some time to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy – it could be going for a run, soaking in a warm bath, or finding a quiet place to read. Whatever self-care looks like for you, take time for that activity! Second, it is important to remind yourself that what you are feeling is valid. Sometimes, we find ourselves downplaying our grief with thoughts like “It really could be worse, look what this person is experiencing.” Remind yourself that another person’s circumstances do not take away from your own. Your grief is valid. Your emotions are valid. Next, seek connection and support! While we are living in a time where we are having to be more physically distant, connection with our loved ones is still important. Staying connected during this time may mean utilizing tools like phone calls, text messages, video chats, or even handwritten letters. If you need additional support, reach out to a professional who can help you through your grief journey. Finally, allow yourself time. Grief is not typically something that goes away in a matter of days or even weeks. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve!
Garrett Counseling’s Sandra Owens shares this message of hope:
To me grief is like being at the bottom of a deep, dark, dank well. Sometimes it feels hopeless and I want to give up. Everything seems so bleak. Then one day I realize there has been help waiting for me to do my part in getting out of the well. I just didn’t see it. That’s when I understand there is always hope for change. – Hope by Sandra Owens, MSW, LICSW, PIP
Supporting a Grieving Loved One
When our loved ones are grieving, it can be hard to know how to best support them. First, take the time to listen to them. Often, the temptation is to try to offer advice, but our loved ones need someone willing to listen to them talk about what they are facing. Next, validate how they feel and refrain from minimizing their pain. Even when you don’t completely understand what they are going through, their grief and emotions are valid. Remind them of that! Third, ask your loved one how you can help support them. Is there a task you can take off their plate, can you organize a virtual hangout with your friend group, or could you have their favorite food delivered to them. Don’t be afraid to ask what would be helpful! Lastly, stay connected with your grieving loved one, especially during this time of physical separation. Try to reach out regularly with a quick phone call or text.
Odds are, we are all grieving something during this pandemic. That is why it is so important for us to know how to cope with our own grief and how to support our loved ones who are grieving. If you are in need of additional help as you are grieving, please reach out to your counselor or contact us!