At this moment, we are all having a shared experience. Whether you are choosing to social distance or you are going about life as usual, everyone is effected in some form or fashion by the virus. However, not all of us reach the same milestones in dealing with things at the same time. That is, some may have had increased anxiety at the beginning, some a few weeks later, some a month later, and for some, the anxiety of what the future may look like is now starting to become a reality.

This applies to grief as well. Whether it’s grief about our current situation or grief about a different situation, everyone deals with things in their own timeline. There are many factors that can explain this. Your environment, social support system, general health, beliefs about self, available resources, and even view of reality are just a few examples.

So, how can we help ourselves go through the process? First, allow yourself some grace. Difficult times happen to all of us. To have a hard time with a situation, a relationship, or a circumstance does not make you weak, incompetent, or less than. Second, figure out what resources you have available. Who are the people you can turn to? Where is a place, real or imaginative, that you can go to or picture that gives you some sense of peace? Are you able to practice mindfulness? Are you able to journal, draw, or do something else that engages your creative side? Third, allow yourself to feel the emotions. When we try to avoid feeling the hard or tough emotions, we also deny the ability to feel the pleasant emotions. It is only by feeling through the emotions that you can get to the other side of them. It is wise however, to pace yourself so that you do not get too overwhelmed. Pay attention to your feelings. Fourth, that being said, if you find yourself “going into the rabbit hole,” where you have difficulty feeling any good emotions, it may be time to seek professional help. Finally, if you know someone who is going through a difficult time, empathy will help them. Don’t push them to “just get over it,” but when possible, just sit with them and let them know that you are there for them, if you are able to do so.

Steffani Wooley, MA, LPC-I