The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted our lives in several ways. It has changed our daily routine, our way of working, lifestyle, and socialising. Many people are coping with their job losses, financial problems, and the worst of all, losing a loved one. Accepting the unacceptable fact of COVID-19 deaths, especially of close people, is challenging.
The stress and grief of losing a loved one due to COVID-19 can take a toll on your mental health. Deciding to put your loved one off the ventilator support, not being able to say a final goodbye, or attend the funeral are all intensely agonizing experiences.
Know More About Grief Stages
It is challenging to fathom anybody’s grief. Psychologists explain different grieving stages, and you may experience each stage differently. Being aware of your grieving stage will help develop compassion and a better understanding of your needs. It also allows you to reach acceptance of the loss of a loved one. Here is the list of the grief stages:
#1 Denial or disbelief
Denying the fact of losing someone may appear like a shock. You may have COVID anxiety.
The feeling of not saving a loved one or not giving him/her timely treatment is frustrating. Unable to attend the last rites, which have religious and cultural importance, may enrage you.
The next phase is guilt or feeling helpless and dwelling in the past, taking the blame for the loss.
The above stages may take you towards depression. Loss of appetite and sleep, despair, feeling hopeless and having no motivation are some common traits that you might experience. Some people take an antidepressant but know that it may fail and that is where psychotherapy becomes the ray of hope.
This stage arrives when you begin noticing the truth around you. It does not mean that you are not sad or not grieving the loss of your loved one, but you are now in a position to redirect your anger or sadness to self-care.
In the grieving journey, everybody does not move linearly. There may be ups and downs. When you are not ready to reach the acceptance phase, you are avoiding reality. You will feel like sleeping more; you will have sadness, anxiety and focus on other people’s needs just to keep yourself engaged. Reaching acceptance is hard and maintaining acceptance is even more challenging
Practice These Tips
As you grieve the loss of a loved one, here are few things to undertake that can help make this tough time a little lighter:
#1 Everyone grieves differently
Your way of expressing grief can be different. Don’t let people tell you how to grieve.
#2 Honor the loved one
Try to cherish good memories of the person you have lost. Talk to friends and family members or arrange a small prayer (virtual) to honor the loved one.
#3 Bid farewell
Say goodbye to your loved one in your way in a quiet, secluded time.
#4 Be self-compassionate
It is normal to feel guilty, angry, or have COVID anxiety. But indulge in some self-care and compassion to heal better.
#5 Involve people
Reach out to family and friends who would share your sorrow. The simplest way is to host a conference call with your friends and relatives to stay connected.
#6 Chalk a routine
Eat healthy food, exercise, and make time for creative work to heal better. Maintain a daily routine as much as possible.
Don’t let guilt overpower you. You will heal, stay devoted to positive thoughts and emotions.
COVID-19 deaths are traumatizing. A sudden loss of a loved one during an uncertain pandemic time is not easy to accept. Feel free to contact our therapists on The Wellness Corner for guidance during the grieving process and Covid-19 anxiety so that you can eventually accept the loss and move forward in life.