I probably don’t have to tell you that there’s A LOT going on in the world right now. 2020 has been a year, and we’re only half way through. There’s so much negativity in the world right now. So much hurt, pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, and grief.
Grief Versus Mourning
Often we reserve the term, grief, for when someone passes away. While this is certainly the case, grief is a lot more common than post-death. I think understanding grief is especially important during this time. You can grieve many, many things. Really anything that you consider as a loss. Dictionary.com defines grief as “…mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/grief?s=t). Mourning is the “…the conventional manifestation of sorrow” according to the same site (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mourning?s=t). In other words, grief is on the inside and mourning is the outward action we take to deal with the grief.
Stressors From the Pandemic
With the pandemic, I think many people, whether they realize it or not, were grieving the loss of normalcy. Our day to day lives changed quickly. Routines and things we found comfort in on a day to day basis were gone. Many of us had (and are still experiencing) additional stressors: figuring out how to do your job from home, navigating the world of homeschooling, working outside the home while trying to care of your children, job loss, financial stress, not being able to see your loved ones, and the list goes on. You can be sure that grief is a normal response to any of the above I listed. Part of grief is mourning what was. Mourning how things were is certainly okay. The more you try to ignore the feelings, the more the feelings will take over. (For more on pandemic anxiety, check out https://fullpotentialcounseling.com/coping-with-anxiety-during-the-quarantine/.
The Heaviness of Racial Injustice
Now, we are in the midst of protesting long-standing racial injustice. It is HEAVY. You don’t have to be a Black American to be overwhelmed with the weight of what’s taking place. If you are someone who feels things deeply and is more sensitive, you may be especially struggling right now. Seeing a fellow human suffering is distressing, and we each process things different.
It’s important to note and honor the weight and grief that our Black American sisters and brothers are having to deal with at this time. That weight is more than I can ever imagine. It is not fair. It is not okay.
This post is meant to help you deal with the grief and stress of everything going on in the world. This blog is in no way saying to ignore what your fellow citizens are enduring or to stay in your bubble of comfort and pretend like it doesn’t affect you. This post is meant to help you find ways to navigate through the heaviness, as best you can.
5 Ways to Cope With the Grief in the World
- Call it what it is. Your feelings are your feelings. Instead of trying to ignore them or judge yourself for having the feeling, just simply identify and acknowledge what you’re feeling. Put a name to the emotion. Maybe it’s just one emotion, but often, it’s a mix. There’s a great saying I love that says “you’ve got to feel it to heal it”.
- Be good to yourself. When things feel heavy, when there’s lot’s of stress in your life, try to “up” your self-care game to better manage. This can be simple things, but what’s important, is that you do things that refresh, re-energize, and re-center YOU. What works for you may look different than someone else’s self-care strategies. What I think is key is to try to incorporate something daily, if at all possible, even if it’s for 5 minutes a couple times of day. For a few ideas, check out https://fullpotentialcounseling.com/how-to-cope-with-feeling-overwhelmed/.
- Take a break. The news and social media are beasts right now. They can be triggering in all kinds of ways. Please, notice when you’re feeing triggered. Notice what you’re feeling in your body. Then take action. Step away from your screen. Sometimes you just need to take a break. Put your phone in the other room. Put it on “do not disturb” if you have to. Turn off the tv. Personally, taking a break from social media has been the most helpful to me. I get on very briefly once or twice a day right now, and even then, I find it’s so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of social media. Taking breaks from social media, the news, and the internet in general are essential to taking care of yourself.
- Connect with supportive and positive people. Whether it’s friends, family, or colleagues, reaching out and having conversation with someone positive can help remind you that there is still good in the world, a lot of it. You can also seek out a therapist. Therapy is a safe space where you can unload your thoughts and feelings without judgement.
- Take action. Get involved in some way to help. Research what you can do locally and/or on a larger scale. Locally, here’s a great list of Black-owned businesses that you can show some extra love to during this time https://www.jaxrestaurantreviews.com/lists/black-owned-restaurants-to-support-in-jacksonville/. I like this comprehensive list of both local and nationwide groups that need support: https://lifehacker.com/where-to-donate-to-help-people-fighting-for-racial-just-1843852418. In my opinion, even just trying to be extra kind to others during your day to day activities is meaningful. Simple things such as paying for a stranger’s meal or coffee, I believe, put more positive energy into our world.
There will always be some type of unrest in our world. Not everyone will get along. It’s a sad fact of life, unfortunately. Things right now are very close to home. It’s one thing to see things going on halfway across the world, but it’s another when it’s happening in your own backyard. It’s been said so many times before and though it’s a bit cliche, “what the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” If we could teach our children to love others, no matter how different they are from us, and, as adults, operate from a place of love ourselves, our world would flourish.