COVID-19 has created a unique set of challenges and experiences and for many, this will include experiencing grief and loss.
This may be a tangible loss such as the loss of a job, a business, a loved one, or it may be the loss of life as we knew it, our routines, our vision for the future. The world is enduring a collective experience where we all feel some level of uncertainty.
These experiences can cause significant anxiety and confusion. Grief is a highly personal experience, influenced by many factors.
However, research suggests that there are 5 main stages that people generally go through when experiencing grief. These are; denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance.
We do not necessarily go through these stages in a particular order and grief can often feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. It is ok to not feel ok and to take time to process your feelings.
It's helpful to look back on other hard times and remember how you felt and how you made it through. We do adapt and we are resilient.
Recent experiences have taken us by surprise and it can be hard to imagine what a future now will look like.
It is important to try to limit future worries and instead spend time focusing on our present circumstances and the things we have greater control over. A great way of doing this is to practice mindfulness.
Engage in activities that you enjoy, where you are less distracted by your thoughts. This may be gardening, exercise or something creative.
It's also important to remember that out of hard times there is always some light, some positives and learnings. It helps to find meaning out of hard circumstances. It's an important time to take care of ourselves and each other.
To remember the basics of staying connected, practicing self-care, talking about how we are feeling and reaching out for support when you need it. For extra support talk to your GP, counsellor or call Lifeline 24/7- 13 11 14.
Rebecca Cornish is the chief executive of Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee.