While a lot of people think of grief in terms of losing a person or pet, grief can come up whenever you lose something important. This includes:
- Losing security, like losing your job or wondering how long you’ll be able to pay rent
- Losing stability or routine, like finding yourself working from home or navigating childcare closures
- Losing your sense of safety, like fearing you or someone you love might end up with COVID-19
- Losing your social relationships, like missing time with friends now that everyone must practice social distancing or self-isolation
- Losing hope for the future, like feeling that life will never go back to normal
- Losing important goals, like finding your classes or sports competitions are cancelled for the foreseeable future
Grief brings up complicated feelings. You might feel sad, angry, frustrated, fearful, or hopeless. You may have a hard time eating or sleeping, or feel very tense. You may feel overwhelmed and tired. You may wonder if life will ever feel normal again.
Everyone grieves in their own way and their own time. Here are some strategies to try as you navigate your own journey.
Acknowledge and express your feelings in a healthy way. Give your feelings a name and find healthy ways to express them, such as by talking with a friend, writing in a journal, or making art.
Give yourself as much time as you need. Grief follows its own schedule. Give yourself permission to use this time to take care of your well-being. Let go of expectations, tasks, or other obligations that can wait.
Seek support. Grief can feel very isolating, even though a lot of people are experiencing some sort of loss right now. Reach out to friends or family and share your feelings. Look for ways to help and support each other.
Take care of yourself. Ignoring health and well-being can make difficult experiences feel worse. Eat as well as you can, try to get enough sleep, spend time outside if it’s safe for you to do so, and exercise regularly. Think about self-care activities or strategies that have helped you cope with challenging situations in the past and make time for those activities.
Know that feelings of grief will pass. Grief may feel intense at times, but those feelings will become more manageable over time and will eventually pass.
Connect with a mental health professional if you’re having a hard time. If you’re having a hard time getting through the day, coping in unhealthy ways, or having a hard time managing difficult thoughts or feelings, it’s a good idea to seek help from a professional like a psychologist or counsellor—many now offer online appointments. To find help:
- BC Psychological Association: Find a Registered Psychologist at www.psychologists.bc.ca
- BC Association of Clinical Counsellors: Find a Registered Clinical Counsellor at bc-counsellors.org
- BC Mental Health Support Line: call 310-6789 (no area code) for to learn about services in your area or just to talk with someone
For young people
- Kids Help Phone: Talk to a counsellor at 1-800-668-6868 or chat at kidshelpphone.ca (available 24/7)
- Foundry: Contact your local Foundry office at foundrybc.ca for information about local resources (for youth ages 12-24)
- Youth in BC: Chat with a crisis line responder at youthinbc.com (available every day from noon – 1:00am)
- That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief in Harvard Business Review at hbr.org
- Grieving from the Canadian Mental Health Association at cmha.ca
- Coping with Grief and Loss from Mind Your Mind at mindyourmind.ca