The Pandemic: How to Manage Feelings of Loss and Grief

By Leanna Alonso, LSW

Coping with Anxieties.​

Every individual on this planet has experienced the feeling of losing something or someone and having to grieve that loss – especially during the pandemic.

It would be difficult to believe anyone who says he or she has had no feelings of anger, loneliness, isolation, anxiety, or sadness during this pandemic.

Many of us have experienced loss. The loss of a friend, a family member, a relationship, a job, a favorite pastime, or what life used to be like.

I’m speaking to you from a viewpoint of someone who had to brave the fears and anxieties of continuing to have to go to work every day, while others were told to stay safe and stay home. Although many of my actions and routines in life didn’t change much, many of my emotions throughout this time have, as I'm sure it has for many others as well.

Working remotely has its challenges as well -- the loss of seeing friends and family as much, loss of routine, and loss of feeling safe when venturing out into the world.

My point is, nothing about this pandemic has been easy for anyone, and the feelings that come with that are perfectly normal.

7 Stages of Grief

We’ve all essentially had to grieve the loss of life as we once knew it, and for many, managing that grief can be challenging.

In experiencing grief, there are seven stages we typically go through:

1. Shock and Denial
2. Pain and Guilt
3. Anger and/or Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Upward Turn
6. Reconstruction
7. Acceptance and Hope

IF YOU FEEL YOU do not have someone who can support you or have been struggling with difficult emotions for some time, then reach out to a professional for help.

3 Strategies to Cope

Not everyone experiences all stages and there is no time limit on the grieving process. Grieving and healing are not linear, and we must be patient with ourselves in allowing ourselves to experience what we feel. There are many ways that you can help yourself to feel and move through these emotions and improve overall health.

These strategies include:

Journaling

Journaling is one of the best things you can do to help yourself organize and understand what it is that you are feeling and thinking. Journaling can be done using journal prompts (which are easily found online) or a free-writing technique.

Free-writing means writing what you are feeling or thinking. It can help you to problem solve and to help yourself think of situations in your life from another perspective.

Most of all, if you are struggling with ruminating thoughts, which are constant sometimes uncontrollable thoughts about fears and worries, journaling can help you to get those thoughts out. Journaling can even challenge the validity of those thoughts.

Taking Care of Physical Health

Take care of your physical health and check in with how your body is feeling. If our bodies aren’t feeling good, then typically our minds don’t feel good either. At least 30 minutes of daily exercise allows our brains to create dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical that stabilizes moods, improves memory and learning, and more.

Choose to eat veggies and fruit more than candy to help your bodies regulate properly and for overall better health.

Keep a consistent sleep schedule, which is important for regulating your mood and body, as well as working through strong emotions.

Talking to a Trusted Person

When feeling these difficult emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, isolation and loneliness, talk to a trusted friend or mentor about how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way -- especially if you are not journaling.

Find a trusted person in your life who you can talk to without judgment, and who can provide you with empathy and understanding. This confidant will help you feel supported and less alone.

If you feel you do not have someone who can provide this type of support or have been struggling with difficult emotions for some time, then reach out to a professional for help.

You are Strong

Often, people forgo seeking professional services due to the stigma of therapy. They don’t want to seem “weak” or have others think “there is something wrong” with them. However, none of these thoughts are true.

I provided counseling services to smart, strong people who are successful in their careers and their personal lives. Feeling overwhelmed, depressed or anxious are common emotions. Get help early.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Ammirati Counseling to ask and inquire about support services that you can receive to help with overcoming feelings of depression, loneliness, stress or anxiety.

Ammirati Counseling is a boutique counseling group with offices in Bannockburn and Downers Grovers. Therapists also offer private therapy via remote online. They provide comprehensive care to children, teens, adults, couples, families, and the LBGT community.
Leanna Alonso