The COVID-19 crisis has created an entirely new and different world in which we all have to operate. Just like those experiencing grief and trying to adapt to a world without their loved ones in it, you also need to adapt to a new world turned upside down by COVID-19. You are anxiously wondering what your “new normal” will be like in the months ahead.
For those who were already grieving the death of a loved one, the effects of the virus on society have added new layers of complication. Many grievers say they can’t escape the grief. The required physical distancing has increased feelings of isolation and loneliness as people are cut off from their usual support systems of family, friends and faith community. They find they are having difficulty filling what seems like endless days and may be feeling an increased lack of purpose and meaning in their lives. Furthermore, routine tasks and errands, like buying groceries or picking up prescriptions, have become stressful and more difficult because of fear of infection.
In spite of all this, there are things you can do that could help you through these unsettling times.
Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated. Try to get enough rest and maintain good sleeping habits. In addition, exercise as you are able, even if it’s just a few minutes of deep breathing or walking around the house. All of these things enhance the ability of the body and mind to cope with painful grief emotions.
Be patient with yourself and know your feelings are valid.
The difficult feelings that wash over you like waves are normal, but you can’t be in the waves all the time without feeling like you are drowning. So, take a break from your grief by watching a movie, cleaning out that closet you’ve always said you were going to do, taking a walk, or reading a good book. Looking at family photo albums helps to reinforce happy memories. This may be a very bittersweet experience but pushing through the “bitter” allows the “sweet” to come to the forefront over time.
Make an extra effort to reach out to family and friends.
Make sure to ask your family and friends for the support you need. Modern technology and social media have made it easier than ever to stay in touch. So, make a phone call or have a family gathering on a tele-video platform.
Try to find a way to help others in order to find a sense of purpose and meaning.
Call others you know who may also be having a hard time just to check in or write cards or letters to send the old-fashioned way. Many people have made face masks or care packages to donate. If you are able, volunteer to run an errand for an elderly neighbor or family member or drop off a home-cooked meal or baked goods. Giving to others is a win-win situation. It helps others and it helps you to feel good about yourself.
Pathways of Hope
Pathways of Hope grief support is available to the friends and family of all Ohio’s Hospice patients, as well as anyone in the public, free of charge, thanks to generous support from the communities Ohio’s Hospice serves. To speak with bereavement counseling professional, contact a Pathways of Hope Grief Counseling Center at one of these locations.
Community Care Hospice or Ohio’s Hospice of Fayette County
Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties
Ohio’s Community Mercy Hospice
Hospice of Central Ohio
740.788.1400 – Newark
614.891.6000 – Columbus
740.454.0000 – Zanesville
740.681.1000 – Lancaster
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton
Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare
419.496.0057 – Ashland
330.674.8448 – Millersburg
330.264.4899 – Wooster
Ohio’s Hospice Loving Care
937.644.1928 – Marysville
740.852.7755 – London
Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County