August 30 is dedicated to raising awareness of the various ways in which individuals cope with grief and loss. Conceptually, grief is often tied to the death of a loved one, yet there are many other forms of grief and loss. All grief is valid and securing coping strategies is a critical step in moving forward.
While the pandemic is a collective experience of grief with the heartbreaking death of over 4 million worldwide, other less obvious losses such as the loss of income, housing, financial stability, relationships, safety, opportunity, experience, travel, rituals, events, etc. can wreak havoc on our mental health. Adults may be reluctant to recognize and grieve these losses as they consider themselves ‘lucky’ to have dodged illness or death. However, hiding or avoiding these losses can lead to greater isolation, intensified grief responses and maladaptive behaviors.
Regardless of the type of grief you have experienced, all grief and loss must be validated and respected. Coping strategies include making connections and avoiding isolation. Seek out supportive friends and family members to review your situation and honor your loss(es). Grief impacts your physical body and maintaining baseline health is key. Ensure you have proper sleep, nutrition and a movement practice to best fortify your body. Allow and accept the waves of emotions that naturally arise as you move forward. Should your grief and loss impact your functionality and daily life, please seek professional help.
As our society wades through another season of the pandemic, we recognize the layers of loss and grief that have checkered the lives of so many. May you find connection and a sense of comfort on this day and the days to come.
Jules Giggie, LICSW has been a clinical social worker for over 20 years, empowering clients to uncover their own strengths and abilities to improve their sense of well-being. She received her BA from Clark University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Jules has experience working with grief and loss, anxiety, depression, caregiver stress, chronic illness, disability, and elder care concerns. She is also passionate about working with parents, particularly parents of children with developmental, psychiatric and learning differences.
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