Our lives have been turned upside down by the current pandemic – we’re missing our normal everyday routines, spending time with our family and friends, and some of us may be dealing with the loss of a job, relationship, friend or family member.
If you’re going through loss, you could be experiencing grief, which can present emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, frustration and anxiety.1 During this time our behaviours change, we can feel hopeless, restless, overwhelmed and it can be easier to be alone with our sadness.
Grief is a natural response to any form of loss.1 The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss and the more significant the loss to you, the more intense your grief will be. Everybody responds differently to situations, but we all have the power within to get through it with the right help and support.
So what can we do to help ourselves cope with loss?
Express your emotions
It’s important to express your emotions rather than bottle them up inside. Talk to someone you trust, who you can be open and honest with, and who will listen without judgement. Life is worth living although this can be difficult to comprehend when we are grief stricken. It can be helpful to talk to someone who will help you remember that though you have suffered a loss, in time, you will be able to live your own life and find happiness again.
Know your loss is important
If the person you’ve lost, the relative you can’t spend time with or the relationship you had was significant to you, it’s normal to grieve the loss you’re experiencing and to feel strong emotions – don’t fight them or put yourself under pressure to be strong. Take time to work through the different emotions and come to a natural feeling of calm and acceptance.
Give yourself time
There is no ‘normal’ timescale for grieving. Some people may start to feel better in days, weeks or months. For others, the grieving process might take years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Create a routine
If you’re grieving, you might neglect yourself by not eating, sleeping or exercising as you normally would. Not eating well, getting poor quality sleep and lack of exercise can unbalance your system, leading to mood swings and low energy.2 It might feel hard now, but getting back into a routine can help you on the road to recovery.
How do I help others who may be feeling vulnerable?
Reach out and offer support. It doesn’t matter whether it is a text, phone call or a cup of tea and a chat, it’s the contact and thought that counts. Try not to feel scared or uncomfortable if they start to cry – it’s OK to be silent while they sob, just allow their emotions to flow and let them know you are there for them. Marie Curie have some tips on how to help a grieving friend or family member.
Get professional support
If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, there’s lots of support out there, including: