Grief Of The Normal

woman sitting while looking lonely

The coronavirus is bringing about all kinds of grief. The grief of losing people is tremendously heavy. The grief of separation is isolating.

The grief of the normal. Of your normal. The grief of what is missing.
It is okay to be sad.

Grief is like an unpredictable ocean as I have written in the past. The waves come and go across our hearts and minds. Sometimes, the waves are small and almost imperceptible.

Other times they are massive and threaten to drown us with their weight.
We are now grieving the normal. The normal of going to the coffee shop with a friend and chatting about our lives.

The normal of grocery shopping without fear or restriction.

The normal of going to work or school in our everyday routines.

The normal of gathering for birthdays and holidays and yes, deaths and funerals.

The normal of reaching out to shake someone’s hand or hug someone as a greeting or goodbye.

The normal of book clubs and poker nights.

The normal of sporting events from tee-ball to professional.

The normal of meetings in person and lunches with friends.

The normal of sleepovers and playdates.

The normal of weekend trips and long-planned vacations.

The normal of going to the movies.

The normal dinner reservations at your favorite restaurant.

The normal of living.

We find these waves coming on us unexpectedly. Where we start to cry out of nowhere. Where we feel sad and lack motivation. Where we feel angry and want to lash out.

It is okay to feel this grief. It is necessary to acknowledge it and to acknowledge what we are grieving for.

It is also necessary not to live there. It is important to not let this ocean drown us.

Just as the waves of the ocean, we can acknowledge and feel the waves and then we can watch them go back out to sea.

We can say to ourselves. Yes, I feel this way, right now. But right now will not be forever. The waves will go back out to sea.

And normal will return at some point. Changed for some, the same for others. But these waves will return to the sea.

Just like the waves in the ocean come and go, no challenge is permanent. Change is the constant in human existence, nothing remains the same forever.

The Anxiety Of Reopening

woman in gray coat wearing white face mask

Throughout the Covid-19 virus crisis, anxiety has been a part of the lives of many. Even with the shut down orders in most states, many people are still anxious about their own health or the health of friends and loved ones.

People have been anxious about their education as schools are closed. More have been anxious about their jobs as employment has also been shut down for many people. Still others are anxious about loss of income and paying their bills.

There has been anxiety over supplies such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Anxiety over relationships as being at home with others all the time can be very stressful and in some cases even dangerous.

Some states are now beginning phased reopening. Some businesses are being allowed to reopen with guidelines. People are starting to come out of their houses in much greater numbers. The traffic in stores is increasing daily. Some people are being allowed to go back to work.

This brings fresh anxiety to many people. Will it be safe to go out? Will my family and friends be safe if they go out or if I go out and come back to them? Will I be protected in my work environment? Will reopening cause cases of the virus to go up?

All of these things are unknowns.

As so much of this virus is, unknowns are a huge part of this crisis. From the symptoms to when will things get back to “normal”. No one has all the answers and in some cases they have no answers at all.

This is all very difficult for humans. We do not enjoy unknowns. We want answers. We want to know. When this is not possible we get anxious. Reopening is just the latest in a long line of unknowns that can cause anxiety during this crisis.

So what can we do? Concentrate on what we do know, however little that might be. Concentrate on what is going on in our lives right now. Are we going back to work? How will that be managed? What can we do if we do not feel safe going back to work?

Concentrate on what we know right now for our friends and family. Are they healthy? How can they continue to be protected?

Stay focused on what is going on in the right now moment. Not on what you do not know and what no one can give you answers to.

You can also work to lower your response to anxiety. Meditation, deep breathing, exercise, journaling, hobbies, and other forms of self-care to continually train your mind and body to relax. Let go of negative or anxious thoughts by writing them or practicing the cloud technique of watching them float by and replacing them with positive or relaxing thoughts.

In this new world of unknowns the possibly of anxiousness seems to be lurking everywhere. We can work to avoid giving in to it and allowing it to overtake our emotions. We can’t have all the answers, but we can practice staying in the present moment with what we do know.

The Importance Of Self-Care In Isolation

man standing beside window
Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Pexels.com

Self-care is an important practice at all times, but now even more so during these periods of isolation. With so many things on our minds during this time including care for others, worries about jobs and bills, children home from school, not being able to get supplies, our own self-care can fall by the wayside.

Isolation for those not used to it and even for those who are who feel even more isolated can result in an increase in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

It is very important to keep up your self-care routine as much as possible or to start doing self-care on a more regular basis while isolated. Many of our self-care options are being limited by social distancing such as gyms, movies, massages, restaurants, etc. We can find that many of the things we did for self-care before are not available to us now.

That is when we have to find new ways to care for ourselves in the confines of our current situation. If we do not find these outlets for our anxiety and depression, we may find ourselves sinking further into despair and worry.

Here are some ways to practice self-care at home during this time:

1 – Writing. Starting or continuing a journal. Writing poetry. Writing short stories. Getting emotional transference through writing.

2 – Meditation. Continuing or starting a meditation practice. Calming your mind can go a long way to calming your life. Apps like Headspace, Calm, Worry Watch, and more can help you in this meditation process.

3- Art. Painting, drawing, crafting, creating and any other art related activity can inspire creativity, promote the release of dopamine and focus your thoughts on what you are doing.

4 – Games. Playing games can be very helpful during this time. If you have kids at home playing games with them or playing games by yourself on your phone, computer, or gaming system. I wouldn’t recommend doing it nonstop but every now and then offers a good break in the routine.

5 – Organizing. Taking a room of your house one at a time and organizing, managing clutter, and tidying up can not only help your home space but your mind space as well.

6 – Schedules. Having a set schedule for each day regardless of if you can go out of the house or not. A time to get up, make breakfast, work on tasks, do self-care, etc. If you have children, a schedule is necessary to continue providing structure and routine which they desperately need.

7 – Get Outside. Even if you cannot go to places you normally would, you can go outside your house. Even if it is just to sit outside in your yard in the sun, it will make a HUGE difference.

8 – Exercise. Do some kind of exercise. Even if it’s just stretching. Yoga, walking around your house, anything to get you moving and get those endorphins and dopamine going.

9 – Humor. Don’t get trapped in the gloom and doom of the news, social media, and your fellow man. Find some humor. Find ways to laugh, a lot. Funny videos, movies, comedians and things like this are all ways to have a good laugh.

10- Therapy. If you go to therapy already either keep going in to the office if possible or see if your therapist can offer telehealth (video sessions). If you feel you need to see a therapist do the same thing, go in or see if they offer video. Your mental health is important too.

These are just some of the things you can do during this time of isolation to take care of your self-care. Don’t stop taking care of you.

Because you matter.

Until next time,
Deborah