It should come as no surprise that people have had many challenges and subsequent changes since the current COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and the current stay at home orders were imposed. Our entire way of living has drastically changed, and many people have encountered difficulties in transitioning from an in-person world to having an online presence.
For some, these transitions came easy as they were already well suited for online daily tasks. For others however, these changes have been more difficult to implement and transition to. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that we have all lost something, or many things because of the ongoing changes in daily life and continued goal of trying and stay healthy and not contract or transmit the virus.
It is important for people to understand that with the changes due to COVID-19, people’s attitudes, behaviors and emotions have also changed and continue to do so as they adjust to their new lifestyle and cope with the loss of their old routines and previous way of living.
Many people are experiencing grief and loss in many different forms because they are unable to control the aspects of their daily life and have had to conform to a new way of living. A good model that represents some of the feelings and stages people are going through at this time, is the grief cycle pictured below.
This model is a good illustration of what people can expect to go through emotionally as they adjust, modify and implement new ways of living. It should be noted that these stages are not fixed, but are fluid, and people can experience more than one at a time as they deal with their feelings of stress and loss.
The acceptance stage is almost impossible to reach right now because we do not know when the stay at home orders will be lifted. This uncertainty and lack of control in our daily lives can create feelings of anger, confusion and stress for many. Know that you are not alone in this process.
The best defense against negative feelings is to stick to a structured daily routine that you can implement to gain a sense of control and power over your life. This routine should include the basics such as healthy eating habits, daily hygiene and exercises for the mind and body. The routine should also carve out time to accomplish one’s daily necessary tasks, such as work and school assignments. A structured routine is not a panacea, but rather a guide to help people resume some sort of stability during a stressful time.
It is also imperative that we continue to find ways to stay connected to our families and social support networks during this time to have the emotional support needed. Communication is key in helping many of us understand our fears and stress and overcome new challenges as they continue to arise.
If you are experiencing grief or any type of loss and are having a hard time with the transitions you are facing, please know we are here to help. Treehouse Family Counseling Services is available for telehealth sessions or in-person sessions where we follow a strict social distancing protocol. We are here for you and your family. www.tcservices.org or call 925-820-8447.
By: Amber Sanner, LMFT