In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more important to cope with loss and grief in a healthy way. Here are four ways that may offer some guidance as you process the loss of a loved one:
1. Resist Scheduling Your Grief
After the death of someone close to you, it’s natural to want to reclaim control of your feelings. We’ve heard time and again that people will, in their words, allow themselves to grieve for a month or two—or maybe up to a year—and then try to move forward.
While an awareness of your current state of mind is important, we encourage you to resist putting limits on your bereavement period. There’s simply no way to follow a schedule when your emotions are involved. In actuality, there’s no right answer when it comes to how long your grief should last. The process is different for everyone who goes through it. Pay attention to your feelings, and let the grief journey be a natural, unforced experience.
2. Avoid Comparing Your Grief to Others’
Say one person is crying at a loved one’s funeral, and another seems to be keeping it together. There is no correct way to process grief, and comparing your grief to the grief of others can be harmful.
The truth is that everyone copes with loss in different ways. One person may experience an immediate flood of emotions, while another may feel numb for the first few months. Everyone’s life circumstances and emotional responses are unique, and while discussing your grief with others can be very helpful, comparing your response to other people’s is less so. When faced with the temptation to compare yourself to others, know that you can never assume to understand the inner workings of someone else’s life, just as they can never assume to understand yours.
3. Prioritize Your Health
Physical and emotional exhaustion are common symptoms of dealing with loss. It can be helpful to recognize that during the grieving process, you may need more rest than usual. Endeavor to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and if possible, aim for at least eight hours’ rest each night. (Importantly, too much sleep can also lead to exhaustion, so it’s vital to find a healthy balance.)
To keep your mental health top of mind, you will also want to seek out friends and family when needed, practice mindfulness, and take stock of how you’re feeling throughout. Do your best to articulate your emotional experience. Be present with others. Eating well and getting enough exercise will help you stay physically healthy during this emotional period, but try not to judge yourself if you also feel the occasional pull to indulge.
4. Join a Supportive Community
Seeking support during the grieving process can bring a great deal of relief. Though you don’t need to feel obligated to discuss your loss all the time, you should certainly feel free to talk through what you’re experiencing with a group of trusted confidantes.
The theme here is to foster connections with others while you process and experience your emotions. Whether you decide to join a support group, sign up for a new activity, or engage in deep conversations with loved ones, you have many options when it comes to building a support network and community during this difficult period.
If you’ve found your community but sense you may need some extra support, a licensed counselor or therapist can help. Many of these professionals offer telehealth sessions, which can be facilitated remotely during COVID-19, allowing you to connect with and process your grief from the comfort of your home.
A Historic Los Angeles Cemetery, Funeral Home, and Events Center
Hollywood Forever features a stunning, full-service funeral home and chapel on our cemetery grounds. Our mission is to help families create meaningful services that honor their loved one and the life lived with dignity and respect—all while providing comfort, solace, and communion to the surviving family members, friends and loved ones.