Coming to terms with loss and grief is always a challenge, but COVID-19 has made it even harder. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is so contagious that people can’t be by their loved ones’ side in the hospital, or have funerals for family and friends who have passed away.
Even if you have been fortunate enough not to lose a loved one to this vicious disease, you may still be mourning the loss of normalcy and routine this year has brought. Living amid a pandemic is stressful, and has caused us to make many sacrifices that would have seemed unimaginable even a year ago. What are some healthy ways to handle loss during COVID-19?
1. Give Yourself Time
People progress through the stages of grief at different rates. There’s no linear timeline for learning to live with loss, and there are many healthy approaches for grieving. If you try to rush the process, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. Allow yourself the time and space to work through the ups and downs of grief.
2. Identify What You Can Control
As someone in recovery, you’re probably already familiar with the Serenity Prayer, which encourages you to accept things you can’t change. Many aspects of life during this pandemic remain outside your control. It’s not worth your time to worry about those things, since you can’t influence them.
Instead, focus on changing what you can. Every day, make time for self-care. Stay abreast of the latest updates about coronavirus spread in your community, but don’t fall into the trap of “doomscrolling.” Take all necessary steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy, including frequent hand-washing, limiting trips outside your home, social distancing and wearing a mask in public.
3. Avoid Negativity
Negative self-talk can derail your grieving process and hold you back from achieving your full potential. Excessive negativity can have a toxic effect on your life, making you feel helpless, hopeless or even depressed. Counteract negativity with gratitude. Make a list of things to be thankful for, and regularly add to it.
4. Allow Yourself to Have Moments of Joy
Even in grief, you might find yourself laughing at a joke, smiling at a picture of a cute dog or enjoying the warmth of a sunny day. Don’t hold yourself back from having positive emotions, or feel guilty when you do. Constant sadness can be a heavy burden, and you can’t expect to carry it everywhere you go for 24 hours a day.
5. Seek Professional Grief and Loss Counseling
Even in a rapidly spreading pandemic, you’re never alone. Plenty of compassionate professionals are ready and waiting to help you learn coping strategies for dealing with complex feelings. Seek teletherapy options you can pursue from the comfort of your home, or enroll in individualized sober coaching to learn life skills that can help you prevent a relapse. Hope and help are always within your reach.
Providing Safe, Sober Housing for People in Recovery
After your discharge from a drug and alcohol treatment facility, you’ll need a plan that helps you avoid a relapse and helps you preserve your new, sober lifestyle. High-accountability sober living provides those benefits by giving you a structured transition between long-term inpatient treatment and a return to the “real world.” Contact Segue Recovery Support to learn more about spending the next phase of your recovery process here.