How to Manage Grief

Coronavirus + Mental Health

Grief

Listen to the audio version of this article Here!

Coronavirus Updates 4/6/2020

  • One month ago, March 5th, there were 11 deaths in the US. Now, more than 9,643 people have died from the Coronavirus.7

  • The US accounts for more than 337,000 of the 1million cases of infected people *reported* worldwide

  • There’s been a federal recommendation from the CDC for everyone to wear cloth masks in public. Trump disavowed it saying, “Somehow, I just don’t see it for myself.” (watch the video here

  • The Coronavirus is overwhelming New York hospitals. According to Governor Cuomo, NY hospitals are counting on 85,000 healthcare volunteers, nearly 22,000 of which are from out of state. 6

  • 5 states are resisting calls for a stay-at-home order: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

  • The C.I.A warns that the drastic reduction in the number of cases and deaths in China is not to be trusted. (Read more here.)

A Rollercoaster of Emotions

I don’t know about you guys but the past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. One dichotomous, giant bundle of peace and chaos, acceptance and denial, anger/sadness and happiness, normalcy and complete lack thereof. I have found myself towing this line of complete existential crisis and attempted avoidance. Thoughts of “what is going on with the world, what am I doing with my life, does it even matter, and what is the future going to be like?” and then thoughts of, “I’m going to enjoy the day by laying outside in the sun on the back patio… and maybe later today I’ll learn how to make bread from scratch!”  (Ps you guys, I have done this, and I’m going to literally mill my own flour from wheat berries)… But that is beside the point. 

The point is, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been teetering between being an innovative problem-solver and completely succumbing to an anxious breakdown. Going about your isolated business, coming up with a new “normal” during the day, and then, at night, having intermittent breakdowns. Or getting into explosive arguments with your sister for literally no reason… 3 times in one day until you both are screaming at each other. Or fiercely fighting the good fight against misinformation on social media and then, sometime after, feeling like you are just completely done with everyone socially, you’re over it, and you’ll just let them destroy the world. 

 

The Way You Are Feeling Is NOT Crazy…

It’s Expected During A Crisis

I know it sounds silly but these really are kind of normal emotions to be experiencing during a time like this. The way of life we’ve become so accustomed to has dramatically changed in so, so many ways. Many of the privileges that we’ve built our society on, have been compromised or completely removed. And this is jarring… hard to believe… hard to adhere to… and hard to make sense of.

Our ability to be social in the ways we are used to has become threatened and (hopefully, in most cases) completely removed. You know, we can’t just lollygag out at the bars, at the beaches, or at (for me) the grocery store. Walking around anywhere, even if you live in a small secluded area, has elements of fear and concern. It’s not just “a walk in the park” anymore. Now it’s laced with an undercurrent of “does that person have it? Is the wind going to drift it my way? Is this 6-feet away?” And so on and so forth. And there’s a gamut of other psychological things at play right now. You know, if you’re someone that has an extreme aversion to attention and embarrassment, you might not have the emotional or mental fortitude to wear a mask, gloves, and eye protection publicly for fear of how people will react to you. You might not want the attention caused by spraying every grocery item you buy with alcohol before you load it into your car. Many of our jobs have been compromised and even our career fields. Our relationships have been affected. Our sense of security and comfort has been threatened and so on and so forth. 

To TikTok Or Not To TikTok

Over the past weeks, I’ve seen a range of behaviors rise up in a subconscious effort to cope with all of the emotions and uncertainty. Some people are trying to circulate exclusively positive messages, and disregard or even condemn anything less than. Others are trying to bring some normalcy back to the social media realm by attempting to create or partake in viral TikTok dances or create challenges. And on the opposite end, some people are solely posting and sharing content surrounding the unfortunate aspects of the coronavirus. And then you have everyone in between. 

Here are my thoughts: the healthy space of operating is right in the middle. You have to pay attention to what is going on but you don’t have to steep yourself in it completely all day and night. You have to put forth genuine efforts towards contribution (to me this doesn’t mean simply following “the rules” but it also means spreading awareness, contributing to conversations, and spreading thoughtful and educated messages). However, you don’t have to spend all day, every day battling on Facebook. Right now, watching or reading the news is a super bummer the majority of the time. But it’s also our reality. A reality that we are shaping and continue to shape moment by moment, day by day, and week by week. And we won’t have the ability to make educated decisions, if we aren’t, in fact, educated. 

Before watching or reading the news, I too, have to go through a sort of mental yoga, getting my mind ready to hear about what (mostly unfortunate) things have unfolded since my last visit. And before logging into social media (particularly Facebook) I feel like I have to fortify my psyche in preparation for the imminent frustration and confusion that results from the uninformed people just spewing conspiracies and irrational thoughts that popped into their mind at that moment. But I do want to take a moment to mention again: this really is our reality right now. For better or for worse. And the answer is not to completely ignore it, nor is it to stay steeped in it for too long. Both can be highly problematic for our well-being. Therefore, my aim is to shed some light on what emotions we all may be feeling, in an effort to redirect us back to a space of comfort and understanding. 

Fear Mongering & Politics

But before I get into the main portion of this article, I want to mention a short note about two things: fear-mongering and politics. As much as I’ve heard people call out news stations for fear-mongering, I have to largely disagree. Fear-mongering is the spread of exaggerated rumors of impending danger in order to arouse fear in an effort to manipulate the public. 1 Of course, there are news stations and online sources that are doing this. But most of the main sources are not. They are simply reporting the news… and the current state of global affairs happens to be that we are experiencing a pandemic globally that virtually none of us were adequately prepared for in almost any capacity: interpersonally, psychologically, physically, financially, socially… none of it. And this pandemic happens to affect all areas of our lives. It is a political issue. It is an economic issue. It is a social and cultural issue. It is a religious issue. Etc. Etc. All of this makes the reality unfortunate and the future uncertain. Those are facts. Not exaggerated rumors. Simply facts. And these facts are important to be aware of because we have the ability to change the trajectory of what is happening and respond accordingly… but we can’t do that if we don’t have the proper information. We can’t do that if we aren’t honest with ourselves.

The other point that I’ll touch on briefly is politics. As I mentioned, this is a political issue. You can’t tease the coronavirus apart from politics. They are one in the same. Politics is essentially everything. It’s what we define as a crisis, it’s how we respond to it, it’s where resources are allocated, and ultimately, we have elected people on our behalf to make those decisions… And if we didn’t consider that, then we made a grave mistake. And if we did consider it, and decided that economic interest takes precedence over public health (something Trump has supported time and again), well then buckle up, because now we get to feel the ramifications of our decisions. And truthfully, this has been a reality for many of the less fortunate Americans for some time, to some degree. Now it’s just on a wider scale. Now the largely previously unaffected (can we say the top 1%?) are feeling it.

Okay, without further adieu, let’s get into it. It starts out a little sad, but there’s intention. So stick through it. 

What You Are Feeling Is…Grief

Last year, I lost my best friend of 17 years and it changed my life forever. At the same time, I was diagnosed with a bothersome, incurable eye condition that may render me blind later in life. At that very same time, my father was going through rounds of chemotherapy and surgery for cancer on his face. During this time I felt lost, confused, angry, sad, unmotivated, scared, and even numb. I was all over the board. I couldn’t make sense of everything that was happening. My perception of reality had shifted to a degree I had never experienced before. Some very basic comforts had been stripped from me and no matter what I did, I couldn’t change the current reality.

I knew I didn’t want to be stagnant, steeping in emotions past a helpful space, or as I say, past their “best by” date. So I empowered myself through education and understanding. During this time, I did what I usually do when I’m feeling less than optimal: I sought advice and information. I actually enrolled in a medical neuroscience class offered by Duke University. I submersed myself in information about psychology, emotions, and personality. I wanted to learn more about what feelings I was experiencing, why, and how I could grow myself through these emotions. I wanted to return to a more comfortable mindset. And throughout all of this research, the one emotion I wound up arriving at was: grief.

Fast forward to today.. And I believe that is the same emotion we are all experiencing, in varying capacities and degrees, right now. Grief. 

Now, I want to pause here… because I know what you are thinking:

I don’t want to hear about anything negative right now, I’m already overwhelmed with the current state of our world!

Give me the TikTok and trivializing distractions!

Trust me, I feel you. And I love to dance probably more than anyone you know. But this article is aimed at attempting to identify the range of emotions we are feeling so that we can ultimately grow through them. I think a lack of emotional and psychological understanding can lead us to feelings of overwhelm and chaos. So in an effort to mitigate the unhealthy or unhelpful ramifications of those feelings, let’s consider the first step: Identifying what we are feeling, perhaps, as grief.

You are not crazy. You aren’t out of your mind. You might just be processing the fact that we are going through something that dramatically affects the way we have been living our lives up until this point. You might just be adjusting to a new reality. You might just be responding to the open-ended uncertainty. And you likely are grieving many losses. 

Be kind to yourself as you traverse this new realm. 

Harvard Business Review + Grief

I recently read a Harvard Business Review article about managing grief, in which the team at HBR extrapolated main points from an interview they had with death and grieving expert, David Kessler. According to HBR, he is, “…the world’s foremost expert on grief. Kessler […] has worked for a decade in a three-hospital system in Los Angeles. He served on their biohazards team. His volunteer work includes being an LAPD Specialist Reserve for traumatic events as well as having served on the Red Cross’s disaster services team. He is the founder of www.grief.com, which has over 5 million visits yearly from 167 countries.” And I’ll add in, he’s of course written and published books on grieving and grief with other experts… I’ll also add: when he was a child, he witnessed a mass school shooting, at the same time that his mother was dying of cancer… and years later, his 21 year old son died… So when I say expert, I mean this guy is the king of loss and grieving. I’ve actually come across Kessler in my own independent research over the years, many times.

Again, if there’s someone that understands the range of grief we are all experiencing right now, it’s him. What I want to do is give an overview of what was said, expand on the points, and then add some of my own thoughts and analyses. 

According to Kessler, we are all experiencing a number of different griefs right now.

“We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”2  

He goes on to mention that there are many types of grief, one of which is anticipatory grief. He explains, “Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. Usually, it centers on death. We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.”2 

Understanding Grief

A really basic way to understand grief is by defining it simply as a response to loss. So whatever gamut of emotions that arise, in addition to the reactions we have to those emotions, as a result of loss… that is grief. And there are really common, socially accepted, examples of loss that we are all aware of like job loss, death of a loved one, physical loss, relationship loss, loss due to trauma, etc. But what is less talked about is the ripple effect caused by this primary loss. The items stacked on top of one another. Also referred to as cumulative loss in psychology. There are subsequent losses that occur as a result of the primary loss. Imagine a row of dominos all set up. The primary loss could be regarded as the first domino to fall, knocking over each of the succeeding dominos. This is why it can quickly feel like your whole life is in shambles. Primary losses are the first losses that occur, setting off the secondary losses. It’s not that the secondary losses are any less meaningful, difficult, or potent, it’s just that they either emerge from, or are a consequence of, the primary loss.3

So for example, a primary loss might be the death of a partner and a series of secondary losses might include financial loss, loss of identity, loss of emotional security, loss of your home etc. 

And in terms of the virus, the cumulative losses we are all experiencing both personally and globally, are extensive. So it only makes sense that we might all be experiencing grief and going through different stages of the grieving process (and I’ll get to this later on). In terms of the Coronavirus, the primary loss is going to be different for each person depending on how they perceive things. But some examples of losses that you may be grieving, right now, are: 

Examples of Losses Due to Coronavirus

  • Loss of your job
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Loss of freedom
  • Loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations
  • Loss of safety
  • Loss of emotional and financial security
  • Loss of identity 
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of purpose
  • Loss of Liberty 
  • Loss of autonomy

Here’s an example of some other, less usual, types of loss. My sister is currently somewhere around 6 months pregnant. Considering that one realm, just that one specific aspect of her life, she’s experiencing a range of losses including, loss of her baby shower and reveal party (thereby losing her deposit and money she put down for food and venue), loss of companionship (it’s highly probable she won’t be able to have anyone in the hospital nor delivery room with her as she delivers her baby, including family and a doula), loss of safety, loss of emotional security, and loss of the dream of all of those things she had in her mind.. Etc. etc. 

And this is only one of the many examples that might not be obvious to most. There are so many things that have changed and are continuing to change as a result of the losses associated with the coronavirus. Now that we’ve identified what losses are and how we might be experiencing them, we can progress to how we can manage them in a healthy way.

Will You Empower Yourself To Move Through Your Emotions?

Now before I go any further, I need to mention: You can use this information to empower yourself, or you can use it to let yourself off the hook and lead you in a direction that’s ultimately unhelpful. You see, there’s an inherent power that can result from identifying or labeling what we are feeling. It goes like this, “Now that I know what grief is and what losses I may be experiencing at this moment, I’m better equipped to move through it in a healthy way.” However, there’s also the risk of latching onto a label and using that to absolve ourselves from taking accountability, responsibility, and moving towards a better space. It goes like this, “I’ve been receiving a lot of validation and reduced expectations because I called out my grief and losses. I should steep myself in this as long as possible because then I won’t have to take accountability and responsibility. I can use it as a scapegoat to let myself off the hook and gain the sympathy, love, and attention I crave.” People rarely consciously draft those thoughts, but that really is what can happen. I’ve observed and read about this a lot when it comes to depression, anxiety, and addiction. I’m not discounting those very real emotional experiences, I’m simply calling attention to how we use those labels, why, and if it’s in our best interest. 

Know that it’s not only perfectly okay but expected to be grieving these losses. It’s a very primal human response. Also, it’s okay to be grieving whatever it is that you are grieving. You don’t need to prove it’s worthiness to anyone. Which leads to my next point. 

What Is Disenfranchised Grief?

Recognizing loss as it is, is instrumental in being able to move through grief and solve problems. Conversely, if loss isn’t recognized both internally and externally, it can hinder growth. The reason I want to expand on this more is because you might feel (either currently or sometime in the future) a lack of support externally. 

Loss isn’t something that needs to be qualified or quantified by the measures of others. Nor should it be. What I mean is, if you regard something as a big loss in your life, and others don’t, don’t feel bad about it or try to reduce what you are feeling. Your loss exists whether others validate it or not.

We have social rules or dictates that all of us live by and if you fall somewhere outside of those boundaries of what society has deemed as “okay,” then you can be subject to disregard and minimization of what you are experiencing. If people are saying, you have no right to grieve or you are grieving in the wrong way or for the wrong length of time, it can feel even more challenging to seek support or to move through it. 

Dr. Ken Doka, grief expert and licensed mental health counselor, came up with a term called disenfranchised grief. And it essentially defines a lack of recognition from either the person experiencing the grief or others. It’s this concept of the social rules surrounding who is entitled to grief. This is basically depriving someone the right to grieve a loss. If you grieve over socially accepted things in socially accepted ways, you will receive support, acknowledgment, and validation. If you don’t? “Well, keep it pushin sucka and stop posting about it because we don’t value it!”

According to Monash University, unrecognized losses, “can be isolating and induce powerlessness, rather than the problem-solving that’s needed to reduce the psychological pain.” 4

MAIN POINTS

  • You are likely experiencing loss (and probably many different losses at the same time) 

  • It might be helpful to label those losses 

  • Resist the urge to minimize your grief based on social dictates

  • Resist the urge to exaggerate your grief based on social validation

  • Understand that emotions are transitory by nature, this too shall pass

The 6 Stages of Grief

When Harvard Business Review asked David Kessler what we can all do to manage grief, he responded, “Understanding the stages of grief is a start. But whenever I talk about the stages of grief, I have to remind people that the stages aren’t linear and may not happen in this order. It’s not a map but it provides some scaffolding for this unknown world. There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally, there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.2 

It’s commonly accepted that there are 5 main stages of grief, and recently, Kessler suggested a 6th stage, that I not only agree with but deeply respect. So in my eyes, there really are 6 stages. 

  1. Denial —“This Virus Won’t Affect Me/Us”
  2. Anger—“You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities? Who’s to blame?!
  3. Bargaining—“Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right?”
  4. Depression—“I don’t know when this will end/I’m too sad to do anything”
  5. Acceptance—“This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”
  6. Meaning—I will allow this experience to inspire and motivate me towards being a positive influence on the world in some way

Just as Kessler mentioned, it’s important to understand that this process is not linear, so it’s unlikely that you’ll glide through each step seamlessly until you reach the endpoint, the 6th step, and then park there forever and your work is done. Boom Boom, never grieve again. That’s generally not how anything works in life. My personal experience has lead me to understand that I bounce all over the place and it feels like it’s rarely done. I might argue that even when you reach stage 5 or 6, you’ll still drift back into the other stages from time to time. 

Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some pictures from Kessler’s grief.com that explain each stage and what to expect. 

He has a host of information on his website if you want to know more about just about anything to do with grief, including free webinars, workshops, and videos. If you want to browse around, click here

5 stages of grief: Anger5 stages of grief: Depression

All Images Courtesy of grief.com/David Kessler

I have to add in a couple of thoughts based on his suggestions of each stage:

*ANGER — Logic would indicate lashing out and acting on your anger, is not a healthy thing to do. So DON’T use this stage of grief to justify being angry and lashing out at people to prove your love for them. That doesn’t work!

**ACCEPTANCE — You. Will. Get. “Over.” This…. If you believe you will…. It would seem to make sense that you would want to lead a life that is okay with all circumstances including the death of a loved one. Even though this may be challenging. So be careful of how you speak to yourself. AKA: “I will never get over this, I will never be okay” VS “It may be a great challenge to get over this, but I will be okay and I love life regardless of the circumstances.”

Remember: when it comes to your mind, your wish is your command. If you think it, you’ll find a way to make it so. 

As a final note:

It is unkind and damn dangerous to adopt a philosophy that would be even remotely close to the martyr syndrome of “I need to be extremely [sad/depressed/angry] because it’s directly proportional to how much I love this person, or loved my life before this event happened.” You loved your life when this person or this event was one way and now, you need to love your life without with person or event. You OWE it to yourself to love your life regardless of the circumstances. 

And although admittedly, I haven’t read Kessler’s new book, “Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief,” I have already drafted my own thoughts on this 6th stage of the grieving process. I feel that after we move through the stage of acceptance, we might find that we are motivated and inspired to “rise above” and channel that energy in a meaningful way. For example, the man who lost his parents at a young age, might find meaning in creating a center for children who have lost their parents. Or the woman who lost her job and experienced homelessness might establish a home for women who are homeless. Or or or. The list goes on and on. 

So if we are open to it, I firmly believe, we have the power and ability to draw strength and meaning from loss. That’s not to say we should say “this is a test and I had to go through this to learn.” I think that borders irrational selfishness and can be problematic in the future. Ie: “people had to die for me to learn a lesson.” But to say, “This happened, I can’t change the circumstances, I have accepted it, and now I can use it to motivate and inspire me to be a positive influence on the world in some way?” That’s a really healthy way of looking at things.

Ways to Help Cope with Loss

When Scott Berinato of the Harvard Business Journal, was discussing the symptoms we may feel during grief, such as a racing mind and physical pain, Kessler gave tips on how to manage these by stating, 

Let’s go back to anticipatory grief. Unhealthy anticipatory grief is really anxiety, and that’s the feeling you’re talking about. Our mind begins to show us images. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. That’s our minds being protective. Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking. If you feel the worst image taking shape, make yourself think of the best image. We all get a little sick and the world continues. Not everyone I love dies. Maybe no one does because we’re all taking the right steps. Neither scenario should be ignored but neither should dominate either.

Anticipatory grief is the mind going to the future and imagining the worst. To calm yourself, you want to come into the present. This will be familiar advice to anyone who has meditated or practiced mindfulness but people are always surprised at how prosaic this can be. You can name five things in the room. There’s a computer, a chair, a picture of the dog, an old rug, and a coffee mug. It’s that simple. Breathe. Realize that in the present moment, nothing you’ve anticipated has happened. In this moment, you’re okay. You have food. You are not sick. Use your senses and think about what they feel. The desk is hard. The blanket is soft. I can feel the breath coming into my nose. This really will work to dampen some of that pain.

You can also think about how to let go of what you can’t control. What your neighbor is doing is out of your control. What is in your control is staying six feet away from them and washing your hands. Focus on that.

Finally, it’s a good time to stock up on compassion. Everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety. So be patient. Think about who someone usually is and not who they seem to be in this moment.

How To Honor Your Emotions and Treat Yourself Well During This Crisis

  • Acknowledge your emotions and pain

  • Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, and then accept the range of emotions that may arise

  • Understand your grieving process may be completely unique to you

  • Support yourself emotionally and take care of yourself physically

  • Be kind to yourself, treat yourself like you would a best friend

  • Seek support for grief and loss (See resources below)

From everything I’ve read, it’s really important not to isolate yourself during your grieving process. Even if you aren’t someone who is used to or comfortable with sharing your feelings with others in “regular” circumstances, it can be really important to express them when you are grieving.5

“This is a time to overprotect but not overreact.” – David Kessler

Remember emotions move through us. They are not permanent. So even though things may feel emotionally untethered, that’s okay. Emotions are transitory and they will move through, and others will arrive in their place. Be compassionate and understanding as much as you have the ability to. Reach out for support if you need it. There’s a trove of free online and virtual resources for you to communicate directly with someone. I’ll list some below. 

There is a wonderful, balanced, shining light amidst this confusion and that is the anxiousness of all things related to grief is created by the human mind and the degree that it’s created by your mind is exactly equal to (and an example of the degree to which) you have this ability to have your mind correct it as well. They are equal. So you’ve demonstrated it yourself that you have the ability to make yourself anxious because of the coronavirus or a friend’s death. And that example is also the degree of the power that your mind has to also imagine other things that aren’t anxiety-inducing. 

Grief comes from the mind. We can quite literally create and induce panic-attacks. That’s pretty powerful. And that means we also have that same amount of power, that same ability to channel it in the opposite direction of love, support, positive energy, and good feelings. 

Grief Resources: 

Kay-Love Test

How many positive words can you string together in a minute?

It’s really that simple. The idea of this “test” that my father came up with, is to prime your mindset for good feelings.

The act of searching for those words (positive words) will bring up experiences. It’s not the words, it’s the act of searching. You are searching for the experiences that shaped those words. It might not happen at first, but it does happen. 

Here’s my suggestion: Practice this as often as you can (particularly when you are feeling less than optimal) for 14-days and write down how you feel before and after each exercise.

Mindful Visualization Therapy

I have recorded my version of guided visualization therapy. This ish took me a LONG time to write and create in totality. So if you don’t like it, for whatever reason… say it behind my back like a decent human being. 

What prompted me to create this? Well, this current circumstance we find ourselves in, that’s what. 

For as long as I can remember, my father used to run through these visualization/relaxation therapy exercises with my sisters and I growing up. Of course we didn’t realize it at the time, but he would construct these stories of peaceful settings during bedtime, to help us relax and go to sleep peacefully. Sometimes, he would run through the exercises with us during the day, if we were particularly anxious or stressed about something.

I can honestly say this is one of the most potent things you can do for yourself to relax during any time, but especially during a time like this. 

It may seem silly at first. It may seem unusual. It may seem awkward. But I can guarantee you, that if you give in and try out the process, you will benefit more than you realize aftering finishing.

My suggestions are to find a comfortable place, isolate yourself from any distractions, and quietly listen. 

Additional Grief Resources: 

Here’s a guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness that answers commonly asked questions namely surrounding anxieties around Covid-19. It’s a really quick read and you can jump to the questions you personally have. I’d suggest browsing it because it answers basic questions surrounding healthcare, economy, finances, psychological health etc etc. 

Join a free online support group or call a hotline:

  • 7 Cups – from what I understand, this is a resource for emotional support. You can text anonymously and a trained listener will respond, support, and counsel you. I believe there is a free-for-service agreement and it’s available in Spanish and English. 

Here are some additional references from the NAMI pdf: 

  • Emotions Anonymous: An international fellowship of people who desire to have a better sense of emotional well-being. EA members have in-person and online weekly meetings available in more than 30 countries with 600 active groups worldwide. The EA is nonprofessional and can be a complement to therapy.
  • Support Group Central: Offers virtual support groups on numerous mental health conditions – free or low-cost. Website also offered in Spanish.
  • TheTribe Wellness Community: Free, online peer support groups offering members facing mental health challenges and/or difficult family dynamics a safe place to connect. Support groups include Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Marriage/Family, OCD and Teens.
  • SupportGroups.com: Website featuring 200+ online support groups. o For Like Minds: www.forlikeminds.com  Online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are living with or supporting someone with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and stressful life events.
  • 18percent: Offers a free, peer-to-peer online support community for those struggling with a wide range of mental health issues.
  • Psych Central: Offers online mental health resources, quizzes, news, an “Ask the Therapist” function, and online support communities.

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