Global Grief of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic changed things dramatically from the normal world of February, to the day I’m writing this in March, and life will probably have changed again before you read it.

If you’re familiar with our Grief Compass blog it probably means you’ve experienced a loss, so when this public health crisis hit, you were already familiar with grief. You likely understand better than most how to navigate profound loss, and grief is happening now on a global scale. We’ve all lost our “normal”.

Whether this virus took the life a friend or family member, took away your wedding, your support system, your job, your long-anticipated vacation, your liberty, or your sense of security, your losses are valid and deserving of your grief.

So, how do we respond? What can we do? Here are some ways you can call on your internal resources to care for yourself and your community in this time of shared grief:

  • Guard your mind – These are serious times and being informed is important, but if you’re reading one scary article after another it will negatively impact your emotional condition.
  • Narrow your focus – If you’re feeling stressed, leave the world news behind for a bit and focus on what is happening in front of you right now. A global pandemic can feel like too much to handle, but focusing on performing tasks right in front of you can help make you feel more in control.
  • Practice gratitude – There’s always something to be thankful for. Take a minute or two, every day, to write down three good things in your life. Research shows this practice helps to create a more positive mental state.
  • Help others – Though we physically have to keep a safe distance, find ways to support friends and neighbors.  You could call and check up on someone who is more vulnerable, send someone sheltering alone an Amazon package, or donate to charity. The opportunities are limitless.
  • Offer grace – Everyone on the planet is in this together. We are all realizing how fragile we are, and that can be especially scary for people unaccustomed to profound loss. You know about losing someone you love, you know the feeling of not being in control. If you can, offer grace to people who don’t yet share your wisdom.

We don’t get to choose the obstacles that come into our lives, but we do choose how we handle them. If you’re feeling unsure about how to function in the face of large-scale uncertainty and need more than the suggestions listed, it’s worth considering a couple of questions; Who do you want to be in this crisis? What are your values, purpose, and priorities?

Use your answers to try and create a sort-of vision statement for who you want to be in this, then use that information to guide your decisions and behaviors. This way, when a decision needs to be made, you can ask yourself which option is in line with this vision for yourself. That can help create clarity in times of uncertainty.

Other than that. Stay home if you can. Wash your hands. Cover your cough. And love the people in your life.

Thanks for visiting Grief Compass. We’re sorry you have to be here, but are glad we’ve found each other.

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