By Maryse Eubank, M.Ed
At times, grieving individuals often find themselves intentionally self isolating. The choice may be made for a variety of reasons such as the fear of breaking down in public, the realization that many previously enjoyed activities don’t seem as important anymore or the sense that others don’t understand. Grief professionals typically encourage those grieving to avoid self-isolating, but what about when the option of being with others is taken away because of a pandemic?
So now we find ourselves without the option to be with others. For many people, especially extroverts, the energy from others is important to their well being. As grieving individuals, this absence of connecting with others in person is very much an additional loss.
So what can we do?
- Connect. Fortunately, we have the technology to do so. Instead of texting a family member or good friend, Facetime them or use Google Duo. If your in-person support group has been suspended, hop on the virtual Zoom option. Can’t meet with your individual therapist in person? Ask for a telehealth appointment.
- Create a routine. This routine doesn’t have to include strict timelines, but perhaps it may help to create a list of activities you want to accomplish each day. It is easy for us to feel like there is no sense in doing anything, but that will most likely lead to us feeling quite unaccomplished at the end of the day. Be sure to include getting some fresh air even if it means just walking the perimeter of your apartment building a few times or opening your windows to your home.
- Practice emotional care. Set up check-in times with those people you find supportive. Learn to meditate with some apps that are offering free resources right now. Clean and organize the space you are living in for a sense of control. Break out that dusty journal and let your thoughts guide your writing. Limit your news intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Incorporate remembrance opportunities. With so much additional time at home, perhaps this is a good time to look at some photographs of the loved one you are missing. Research how to make that favorite dish you both enjoyed so much or listen to the type of music they adored.
- Reach out if you need support. Therapists may not be able to meet in person, but many organizations are offering telehealth options.
- Be kind to yourself. This may be the most important task as a healthy self-care regimen is essential to moving forward on your grief journey.
Remember that there is no timeline that must be followed or a dedicated path for those that are grieving – each person is unique and therefore creates their own exclusive grief journey.