For every person who dies of COVID-19, nine close family members are affected, according to a new study on the pandemic’s toll on grieving family members. With social distancing thwarting some traditional ways people gather to process grief, it’s important to understand the process of grief, Dr. Brad says.
“Every person and situation is different and so is the process of grieving. There is no timeline for healing from grief. Some people process their feelings and are able to resume a regular routine relatively quickly, while for others, grieving is a prolonged journey.”
The five stages of grief identified by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Yet grief is rarely straightforward and often confusing. Things to keep in mind:
1. A little denial can be healthy.
It can prepare you for the difficult feelings coming your way. Just don’t get stuck here.
2. Beware signs of unhealthy grief.
These may include fatigue, brain fog, irritability or unexplained pain or illness. Severe depression or suicidal thoughts are a warning sign to seek professional help immediately.
3. Watch your thoughts.
“You may feel overwhelmed, feeling that your grief will never end. Be careful with your thoughts. Observe them like passing clouds, or find a replacement thought such as ‘I’m going to be okay; or ‘This is normal.’”
4. Go easy on yourself.
“Let yourself fully experience all your emotions. Love yourself with proper self-care. Eat nourishing food and get proper rest. Make future plans (if appropriate) to help you move forward.”
5. Don’t try to rush grief.
“The pain of grief can be so intense that it feels like it will never end. You may think you’re done, but then experience more intense pain. Understand that this is normal.”
As people move through grief, they may find their role or identity has changed or been lost. As you begin rebuilding, remember what about you has not changed — who you are at your core.
“Grief can be a teacher. It can show what you are capable of feeling, how much you love or care, and that you can handle hard things,” Dr. Brad says. “Don’t rush to redefine yourself. Use this time as an opportunity for rebirth and carefully consciously create a new reality for your life.”
About Dr. Bradley Nelson: Veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson (D.C., ret) is one of the world’s foremost experts on natural methods of achieving wellness. He has trained thousands of certified practitioners worldwide to help people overcome physical and emotional discomfort by releasing their emotional baggage. His best-selling book “The Emotion Code” provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body’s energy healing power. A newly revised and expanded edition of “The Emotion Code” is now available from St. Martin’s Press. For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit www.emotioncodegift.com.