In 2020, we experienced something that the world hadn’t felt for a long time: mass grief.
All at once, across continents, countries, cities, neighbourhoods and families. We grieved together as we tried to cope with the rapidly changing situation brought on by COVID-19 and we grieved for another loss – the loss of our normal. The loss of gatherings free from concerns about proximity. The loss of our ability to feel on our skin the sunshine of a place halfway round the world. Of course, the greatest loss of all; the personal grief that comes with the passing of a loved one.
Not in our lifetime did something impact so many across the globe in so intimate a way. No matter the loss, this has not been an easy time for anyone. It’s also important to acknowledge that even if there hasn’t been a loss of life, we can still feel immense grief and sadness.
Here are some simple tips on how to cope with your own grief, while also grieving along with the world.
- Give yourself time and space: Grief can take a lot of energy and take a real emotional toll. Sometimes we don’t even realise how much of a toll it’s taking until later on. So give yourself extra time and space, possibly each and every day, to allow for these feelings to process
- Find things that give you joy: Whether this is a walk, a piece of cake, or a chat with a friend. It’s important when grieving to still find joy in the little everyday moments. We may not be able to do some of the things we loved before or do it in the same way, but there are still ways to create and experience joy.
- Switch off: It’s important to care for your mental health and wellbeing and sometimes that means taking some time out. Turn off the phone, turn off the TV and have some quite space to reflect. The news, updates and experiences of others constantly coming into our headspace can really add to a feeling of being overwhelmed when grieving, so just give yourself a break.
- Go for a walk: Fresh air and exercise can be some of the best things to support our wellbeing, mentally as well as physically. Such a simple activity can really help. It doesn’t have to be a long walk; a change of scene and a chance to reset is what you’re after. If you can’t go outside or don’t feel ready to, then just a stroll around the house to get the body moving can really help.
- Acknowledge your grief: Anyone can experience loss and sadness, regardless of their circumstances. You don’t have to compare your situation to others. We each experience our lives in our own way and if you are feeling grief over any kind of loss, it’s important to acknowledge it as part of moving through it. Give yourself some loving kindness, as you would to a friend.
2020 was a momentous year, and the impacts of COVID-19 are still being felt around the world. Be patient and kind with yourself and understand that you may still grieve for some time to come. But you don’t need to do it alone.
If you need support while grieving and would like to explore some self-care activities, visit the Centre for Care and Wellbeing page.
For additional support, contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) for resources and guidance - 1800 642 066. ACGB the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia, providing support for bereaved and grieving Australians for more than 22 years.
If you are feeling worried, low, or struggling to cope, please call Lifeline or Beyond Blue for immediate help and support.
Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.
24 Hr Telephone Crisis Support – 13 11 14
No matter how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you, Beyond Blue has information, strategies and expert advice to help support you.
Call 1800 512 348 24 hours / 7 days a week
For additional support during COVID-19, Beyond blue have created this dedicated space:
Online forums 24 hours / 7 days a week