We as a global community have experienced great loss. Loss of life, loss of income, and loss of how things used to be. Our lives have changed drastically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency orders have been issued. Businesses have closed their doors and groceries are flying off the shelves faster than stores can stock them.
These feelings of uncertainty and loss may cause you to feel anxious. You may be grieving the loss of activities you once participated in, the face to face contact with friends and family, or the certainty the future once held. Often, these small instances of grief go overlooked. You may tell yourself, life is difficult right now, but some people have it worse. However, it’s important to acknowledge your grief, and not compare your level of loss to another. Failing to acknowledge these emotions can cause you to feel restless, short-tempered, a lack of appetite, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
Once you’re able to acknowledge what you’ve lost and the grief that comes along with it, you can work on being mindful. Being mindful is pulling your attention to the present, rather than the past or the future. When you think too much about the past, it hurts. When you think too much about the future, it hurts. Staying in the here and know can reduce the suffering and help you cope with uncertainty day to day. There are many ways to achieve this. One of which is meditation. You can gain access to guided meditation through various apps and websites. Another method is the observation of your surroundings. Deliberately paying attention to your senses and purposely observing the present moment.
Gaining mindfulness does not happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to begin and don’t be afraid to struggle. You can eventually incorporate your work on mindful thought into all aspects of your life, such as doing dishes or folding laundry. Working on these skills when you don’t need them will allow you to better utilize them when you do.
Don’t forget to reach out to friends and family by phone or by video and leave your house occasionally. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air or take a walk around the neighborhood while honoring proper physical distancing.
If the feelings are becoming too intense, please contact NEW Health’s Behavioral Health department by phone at (617) 643-8000. If you are having thoughts of suicide call or text The National Suicide Hotline at 1 (800) 276-8255.