Coping with loss is difficult, but in the COVID-19 pandemic it can get even more difficult. Safety distancing measures make it even harder for people to be by their loved one’s side.
This separation adds to the grief and sorrow of loved ones left behind — not being able to see their loved ones during their final moments. While they are coping with the strain and anxiety, the inundation of COVID-19 news is a constant reminder of their sadness and loss.
Processing grief is difficult whenever we lose someone close to us. If you have lost someone during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some useful coping strategies that may be helpful.
Helping adults cope with grief
There are additional challenges caused by COVID-19 on adults and it’s inevitable. The coping resources of a bereaved person are under severe strain in the context of the pandemic. Adults must have a clear game plan on how to walk out of grief in this crisis. Follow these 3 suggestions to help:
Give yourself time to heal
Healing takes patience and time. You don’t have to feel like you need to fix anything or to progress by a certain date. By giving time for healing to happen, you are giving yourself a chance to observe your own growth and gain new perspectives that can ultimately help you transform your pain into growth.
Asking for help from others and staying connected
Staying connected to others is very important especially when you are grieving and socially isolated. If you lack this motivation, try to seek support from people you trust through phone calls and video chats. Arrange these conversations as important appointments and stick to it. The simple act of hearing or seeing people who care about you can play an essential role in your healing.
Honour the deceased
Do something to honour the deceased. As a gesture of remembrance of the deceased, revisit some pleasant memories of your loved one, go to their favourite restaurant or play their favourite sport. Inform your family and friends about your plan as they will likely shower you with encouragement and support.
Helping children deal with grief
Everyone has different grieving and coping methods, and often, children understand death differently from adults. They grieve in their different ways or express their grief differently from the older generation.
The young may give the impression that they are coping well, but a sudden seemingly innocuous event unrelated to the loss may trigger a disproportionate response. So, how can we help to manage their grief and cope through this unknown process? Follow these 3 suggestions to help:
Encourage child to express freely
It’s good for the young to express and acknowledge the emotions they are feeling. Since many of them are not able to express their emotions through words, other helpful outlets include building a scrapbook, looking at photos or drawing pictures.
Be honest and open
Most young children are aware of death, even if they may not fully understand it. Experiencing grief first-hand is a different and often confusing process for the young. As a parent, you cannot protect a child from the pain of loss, but you can help them feel safe. While you don’t want to reveal too much details, honesty is always the preferred approach. If the child wants to talk, consider sharing a special story about the deceased that they can relate to.
Provide affection and reassurance
Always ensure that the grieving child will continue to be loved and cared for. Reassure your child that it is normal for the pain of grief to come and go overtime. Spend time with them and when they are upset, explain that it is normal to go through this pain of loss and you can help build healthy coping skills for them.
When a loved one passes on, we are changed forever. As we move through the pain of grief, it is important to remember that many people find new strength and perspectives through healing.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy and you don’t have to go through it alone. If the grief is too challenging for you or your loved one to handle, getting the help of a mental health professional is always an option.
Perhaps, therapy could be a viable option. Psychiatrist, Dr Ng Beng Yeong, explains that “psychotherapy aims to enable clients to understand their feelings and equip them with the ability to cope with difficult situations in a more adaptive way. Anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by their problems and unable to cope may be able to benefit from psychotherapy.”
THIS ARTICLE IS CONTRIBUTED BY SAMARITANS OF SINGAPORE.
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