The world was recently hit by the worst pandemic humankind has faced in many years. It brought many economies to their knees, and also came with a wave of sadness that has enveloped the world. On the media outlets, every day there is devastating news that is sure to bring sorrow to the heart of anyone. The feeling that overwhelms you when you read this news is grief, and it is even stronger in people that have lost their sources of livelihood and more importantly, their loved ones.
So, what is pandemic grief?
As the name implies, pandemic grief is grief or intense sadness felt due to the negativity this pandemic brings.
As the world mourns the loss of so much, another pandemic wave seems to be brewing, of grief. Grief can pose potential health risks of its own. In some people, especially teens and adults, pandemic grief can manifest in different ways; anxiety, depression, academic struggles, lower self-esteem, trouble sleeping, and behavioural issues. In adults, grief can manifest itself in the form of anger, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
However, grief can also manifest in physical symptoms. It is important to stay on top of these and make sure that they don’t get worse. Providers like Venn Healthcare offer shockwave therapy to help with all sorts of ailments.
According to Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, grief can be classified into five stages, namely:
- Denial: In this first stage, the person, or persons cling to a false reality, believing there is a mistake somewhere along the line.
- Anger: In this stage, the individuals realize that they cannot cling to those false hopes any longer, so they become frustrated.
- Bargaining: In this third stage, the individuals seek compromise or try to strike bargains. For instance, a person tries to strike a bargain with a supreme being” to keep them from dying or losing something precious due to the pandemic.
- Depression: In this stage, the individuals recognize their mortality, become silent, and spend so much time being sullen and mournful.
- Acceptance: This is the last stage of grief. In this stage, individuals may have realized that nothing can be done, so they embrace their inevitable future.
Applying these stages to the pandemic outbreak we experienced recently, we would see that there was a lot of denial in the first stage; “The virus is not real. If it is, it won’t affect us.” Then, there was anger because people were prevented from going about their daily activities due to the enforced lockdown.
Bargaining came next when people started to agree to social distancing, hoping that the virus would go away as quickly as possible. Sadness came in when the bargaining was not as effective. People started asking, “When will this end?” Finally, we are all in the stage of acceptance. We have agreed that everything is real, and we are now looking for ways to adjust to the changes in our little ways.
How do we address pandemic grief?
There is good news, though. Pandemic grief can be handled effectively. We do not need to let the loss affect us gravely, no matter how huge it may be. Some ways to handle pandemic grief are discussed below:
Through professional support: There are many licensed psychologists like Dr. Nadine Macaluso, Ph.D and psychiatrists in the world today.
Turn to other loved ones: In times of pandemic grief, it is always comforting to turn to other loved ones for support. Rather than avoid them, draw closer to them, and accept any assistance they might be willing to give.
Draw some comfort from meditation and yoga: These are effective ways to deal with pandemic grief. Instead of spending time grieving, you can spend some time meditating and doing yoga. These two practices have been known to relieve in times of distress.
In conclusion, it is normal and humans to feel grief. But it is also up to you to determine how grief affects other aspects of your life. The pandemic brought suffering to almost everyone in one way or another, but it is our job as humans to pick ourselves up and move forward in life.