Grieving your pre-pandemic life? It’s perfectly normal to mourn holidays, social gatherings, and other losses and life changes caused by COVID-19. Luckily, you can take comfort in the fact that it is possible to move forward with strength and meaning. This advice from certified life coach counsellor TANJA FAESSLER-MORO can help.
Grief isn’t just about death
“Grief isn’t just about death,” says Tanja. “We can mourn the loss of dreams or an imagined future, or an old way of being pre-pandemic, before everything changed. We can mourn the loss of opportunities, of hope, or even of our sense of identity as we navigate life’s challenges.”
As founder and counsellor at Counsellingconnectz, Tanja has been seeing many people who are coming to terms with losses of all kinds, in the aftermath of what has been a devastating past year or so for the global community.
She adds, though, that it’s always possible to process grief and emerge from the other end. And we can do so in a way that makes us feel more authentic, more resilient and perhaps even more aware of what we really want from life. It also helps to know that, whether you’re struggling with financial insecurity, juggling home schooling, or trying to hold together a relationship that has borne the brunt of lockdown, you’re not alone.
Tips from a counsellor
If you’re someone who is finding it tricky to adjust to a all the recent life changes, here are a few key approaches to bear in mind.
#1 Practice acceptance
Before we can adapt to the new version of reality that life has thrown our way, we need to take the time to come to terms with it; we need to acknowledge that yes, this is the way things really are now.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean we give up or pretend we like something we don’t,” says Tanja. “It simply means we face what is, with honesty. After all, if we fight reality, reality always wins!”
Tanja’s tip: Try meditation to gently bring yourself into the present with calm, relaxed awareness, and without judgment.
#2 Feel what you feel
It may seem like life is hurrying along, and life changes are happening all at once. But, it’s important to allow ourselves time for our emotional reality to catch up.
“Give yourself permission to feel what you feel – even if that’s resistance or denial. It’s completely normal, in the wake of upheaval and major life changes, to feel angry, panicked, depressed, or even numb.”
Tanja’s tip: Take time every day to ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” and practice listening to your answer with kindness. Journaling, prayer, walking or sharing with others can help you work through your emotions.
#3 Keep perspective
Big life changes can make us feel incredibly powerless and vulnerable. It can seem like we’re no longer in control of our lives, and feelings of apathy can creep in. As Tanja points out, though, not everything in life has changed.
“We can still take comfort in anchoring ourselves in what is still the same from pre-pandemic. Are there any small, concrete actions you can take today to engage with those things?”
Tanja’s tip: Reconnect to an old hobby or something you used to enjoy pre-pandemic. Keep a daily gratitude journal where you divert your attention to all those things that bring you joy and comfort.
#4 Create meaning
Loss of any kind is seldom easy. No matter what you are grieving the loss of, the process always follows its own path – and grief cannot be rushed. If we can find patience and compassion for our transition, however, change can be a precious opportunity to discover something about ourselves. Talking to a counsellor is one way to receive support as you make meaning of your experience.
Tanja’s tip: Ask yourself what really matters to you; what are your values and what deeper changes are you being invited to make?