Are you struggling to understand your feelings and emotions during this time? You may be feeling like you’re on a wild, unusual, scary rollercoaster that you’ve never quite been on before. One minute you’re feeling grateful and looking at the positives of staying home. Life is simpler, you don’t have to get out of your PJs to go to work, you get to spend more quality time with your children, getting projects done around the house that have been on your to do list for way too long. A couple of hours later you’re wondering how on earth you will survive what feels like a lonely existence without human interactions (I’m especially missing hugs and the energy I get from other people!) and without the stable income that you depend on to pay your bills and to keep a roof over your head. How will you entertain the kids another day in isolation and how will your mental health hold up when all of this is over? You’re not alone. You are perfectly normal to be raising all these questions.
Most of us associate grief with someone passing away, but it is not always the case. Grief happens when our life gets disrupted by something. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, there has been a huge change to our daily living. There are 5 stages of Grief and they don’t necessarily happen in order.
- Denial. You may feel numb, shocked or confused. You deny the reality of what is happening and you might even feel anxious and distress. But for the most part you’re still pretending that things will shift quickly and that this is not the reality of your life. You may even create unrealistic expectations in your mind. You tell yourself that this will blow over in a week or two and everything will go back to normal. It is common to then move onto pain and guilt. This guilt may be about not taking advantage of opportunities that you might have had that you now don’t. You wish you spent more time with your family, that you appreciated your job more or simply being able to go to the park with your children.
- Anger. You might feel angry, anxious or frustrated. And rightly so. Your world has changed from under you, events you had planned are cancelled and you are feeling a lot of uncertainty. You might come to realise that you don’t have control over certain aspects of your life anymore. You’re coming to grips with the ‘new normal’. Remember: When normal people go through abnormal events, they tend to act abnormally.
- Bargaining. You might start bargaining with yourself, telling yourself, “I’ll change my life if this changes”. For example, “I’ll value my family and freedom more if things just go back to normal”. You may even start looking at someone or something to blame or feel like a victim in this process. Again, this is normal and all part of the grieving process.
- Depression. You might experience depression, helplessness and overwhelm. You start reflecting on the true magnitude of the situation you’re in. You might have a day where you feel down and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that your tomorrow is going to be that same way. It’s part of the emotional cycle that you might experience which a lot of times is created by too much exposure to news or social media.
- Acceptance. This stage is the upward turn where there is hope and acceptance of where you’re at. You start to become calmer and more organised. You will begin to explore options, put plans in place and take action, focusing on things that you can do. This is where you start adjusting to a new life, developing a new identity and forming new habits.
And then you have hope for the future. It does not mean that you’re instantly happy or you’re joyous all the time or that you no longer feel frustrated or angry at some point. It means that you spend more time in that acceptance. You’re at peace, you trust the future and see the potential in positive outcomes.
So if you are currently experiencing grief, please don’t judge yourself. Try not to wonder what’s ‘wrong with me’ or wonder why you’re not ‘coping better’. I want you to know that this is an expected reaction to the current situation. This is part of the experience and we need to somewhat embrace the emotions in order to work through them and be able to move forward. Talk about what’s going on for you, connect with others, journal, vent to friends, meditate, speak with a professional, scream into a pillow, do whatever you need to do to acknowledge what you’re feeling right now. Pushing these emotions down and avoiding them might make them disappear for a short time, but they will come back in a way that will be detrimental for your health in the future. And if it is detrimental for your health, this will effect the people you live with/ those closest to you. You have a responsibility and a duty to look after your mental health not just for yourself, but for your loved ones.
And I’ll leave you with this ‘Just for Today’ quote that I like to live by…
“Just for Today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a lifetime. All you need to do is focus on getting through one day at a time.”
POSTS BY JANINE
- Coronavirus has Changed your World. It’s OK to Grieve.
- Accepting your Circle of Control during Isolation
- Work, Guilt and Motherhood
- Permission to Self Care
- Toddlers, Tantrums and Triumphs
Janine Graham is a Mum, a Primary School Teacher and a Wellness and Mindfulness Coach. Janine works with women to refocus their energy on what aligns with their values and supports and challenges them to create a greater overall life satisfaction. Janine is skilled and passionate in empowering women in issues such as body confidence, relationships, fertility, parenting, life balance and unconditional self-love. Make contact with Janine today for your free, no obligation clarity call. Follow more of Janine’s story on Free To Be Me – Wellness Coaching’s Facebook Page and Website.