As we collectively continue to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as the racial and political tensions that have defined this year – taking care of ourselves and finding support where we can has never been more important. We are certainly in uncharted waters as social distancing, isolation, health risks, violence and financial concerns have become part of our daily lives. Sometimes it feels that each day brings a new sense of uncertainty and unpredictability.
The changes that we have had to make to our lives can feel overwhelming, unpredictable and bring with them the potential for a huge range of emotions. We are experiencing collective grief, a multitude of losses in terms of relationships, routines, safety, financial security, human connection and a predictable future. All these losses are valid and important and can elicit emotions that include anxiety, hopelessness, uncertainty and confusion. Feelings of grief relate to any loss, and the emotions are the same whether we are mourning a death, a job, a relationship, or a way of life.
It is important to rely on the coping strategies that work best for you. Below are a few methods to help you manage grief, loss, anxiety and emotional fatigue.
Take good care of yourself
Practice what brings peace and a sense of calm to you, even if it’s for a moment or small segments of time. Be sure to eat well, rest, meditate, rely on faith and look to nature. Tap into simple joys like baking, pets, art and other creative outlets. Reach out to your medical provider, if support is needed. Mental health clinics are open in some capacity, and many medical professionals are using virtual visits to stay connected to their patients.
Try to limit news and social media exposure and reduce caffeine and alcohol. These tend to be stimulants that can actually increase stress levels. And always look for more simple was to laugh, play and bring joy to your life.
Stay connected to family, friends and faith communities, either in person or electronically. Talk about your feelings, listen and share concerns. Remember to wave at neighbors, write letters and be creative with how you can connect during this time.
The following is a list of grief/loss and mental health resources the team has put together. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list but for many, it may be a good place to start. There are also grief support and mental wellness groups on Facebook that may be helpful, too.
Whatsyourgrief.com – grief articles, chat groups
Dougy.org – grief/loss for children, teens and young adults. Articles and good age-related tip sheets
Compassionatefriends.org – support after losing a child of any age
Journeyofhearts.org – information, support and chat groups
Thewellnesssociety.org – ideas for anyone managing anxiety
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
SAMHSA’s National Hotline: 1-800-662-4357 free, confidential 24/7, 365 days a year treatment referral and information line (English and Spanish). For individuals and families facing mental health
and/or substance use disorders.