When the start of 2020 threw us into a state of despair and the country into a lockdown, no one expected that the world would change forever. With more than 39.5 lakh deaths across the world, despite the introduction of vaccines and the tireless efforts of doctors and frontline workers, the pandemic has left a wound in our hearts that will take forever to heal.
COVID-related grief can strike people pertaining to all age groups and even create anxiety in those who haven’t lost anyone or anything, so it’s important that we have an outlet to alleviate this emotional burden. Therefore, for those of you feeling crestfallen and distraught in these challenging times, here is a small effort by us to help you navigate your grief.
Grief Management During A Pandemic
It’s hard to fathom what people, who have lost loved ones in a span of a few months must have gone through, but one thing we know for sure is that every day is a struggle to survive without the love and support of family and friends. In addition, many have lost their employment and a source of income, thrusting them into a world of anxiety, anger and eventually depression. Believe it or not, people deal and cope up with losses in their own way, but in each way, it’s crucial to promote healthy coping mechanisms and acceptance. Following are some of the ways in which one can oversee and manage this grief:
It is far too obvious that the pandemic has affected everybody in their own way and that is why we need to take care of our own health before we try to help someone else. If you realize that you are being far more anxious than usual, experience a noticeable change in your sleeping patterns and get irritated quite easily, there is a chance you have bottled up emotions that need to be let out. In these times, having a sane mind that doesn’t let intrusive thoughts affect your day-to-day functioning is quite important. So, ASK for help.
- Try talking to your parents, friends or a close relative about the emotions and thoughts you face throughout the day.
- If you think you don’t have a chance for a healthy outlet to vent your emotions amongst your closed ones, consult a psychologist.
- Many doctors specializing in this field have also started online seminars to discuss COVID-related grief and its consequences. Attending one might help you in pursuing therapy or simply understanding what’s going on.
This sounds like a way of blocking your feelings instead of addressing them, but when your mind starts imagining presumptuous and disturbing scenarios, it’s better to engage in something else. After all, we all know that an empty mind is the devil’s workshop. You can start small in these ways:
- Try embracing a new hobby. Maybe it’s time to take those guitar lessons you always wanted to take as a kid or it's time to polish those dance steps that you dreamed of performing at your sister's wedding.
- You can also start a small social media page about the things that you are really passionate about and invest your time and efforts to make it work like a photography page or a fashion styling one.
- If you are worried about your loved ones, try involving them in these kinds of activities, since this will also be a good way to spend some time with them.
- Make yourself an adaptive routine that can create a sense of order and purpose for you, no matter how things have changed. Basically, take comfort in creativity and let it make you feel better.
There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that you are loved, appreciated and cherished. Talking with friends and family who are supportive and understanding will always help put a smile on your face. Reminiscing about the good times and laughing about them is a good way to let off some steam. Perhaps playing with your pets or with old school friends will let your heart and mind know that no matter how tough things get, someone will always have your back and in times as hard as these, knowing that can be really helpful.
Lastly, focus on the present and things that you can control. Time heals everything and your heart will heal from these devastating times too. Regardless, always remember that you can and should ask for help if you are having miserable thoughts. There is no shame in that. Listed below are the numbers of certain helplines that can help you steer your thoughts away from such somber thoughts:
- Centre’s Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline- KIRAN- 1800-599-0019- Open 24x7 with 13 languages and 660 psychologists.
- Suicide Prevention Helpline- AASRA Foundation- 9820466726 - Open 24x7 with both English and Hindi counsellors.