Life as we once knew it has suddenly changed. For many of us, it’s a time of great uncertainty. You might feel angry about the situation, more irritable than usual or distracted. You might also find it difficult to sleep at night or feel more or less hungry than usual.
What you’re feeling might actually be grief over the loss of everything that was normal before COVID-19 hit our communities.
There’s a lot to grieve right now. For some people, it’s being unable to spend time in person with family and friends. For others, it’s having to cancel or postpone an important milestone, such as getting married, attending prom or graduating college. Some people are grieving a loved one passing away due to COVID-19 – and then not being able to mourn with others.
But for many, it’s as simple as grieving the loss of a normal routine. Right now, many of us are being forced to do things differently. You might be working from home while also helping your kids do their schoolwork. Having to stay at home might make you feel stir crazy because you can’t get out as much as usual. On the flip side, if you’re an essential worker, you might feel fearful about going to work.
The most important thing to know is that these feelings are completely normal. There is nothing wrong with grieving and wishing things could go back to how they used to be. But it’s also imperative to look forward. Here are some tips to cope with grief related to COVID-19:
- Be kind to yourself – Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling sad about something. Instead of telling yourself it’s only a graduation party, let yourself grieve the loss of an important milestone in life.
- Establish a routine – This might mean getting dressed like you’re going to work and putting on make-up. Or perhaps it’s scheduling a daily walk over your usual lunch hour. Having structure to your day is good for mental health.
- Connect with loved ones – It can help to share your feelings with others. Although you might not be able to see loved ones in person, you can still connect through video chats, phone calls and text messages.
- Get regular sleep – You’ll likely feel better if you follow a regular sleep schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
- Eat healthy – Avoid packing on the COVID fifteen by sticking with your usual healthy diet. Limit mindless snacking and focus on eating vegetables and fruit, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats.
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness – Yoga is a wonderful way to connect your mind, body and spirit. You might also try starting your day with a five-minute meditation or taking time throughout the day to focus on deep breathing and relaxation.
- Turn off the TV – Watching the endless news cycle can cause people to feel more anxious. Instead, limit your TV time to an hour a day.
If you find you’re struggling to function during the day or complete your everyday tasks, it may be time to seek help. Linden Oaks Behavioral Health offers the full-range of services and treatments. Call us for a phone assessment and we can refer you to the appropriate level of care for your needs.