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Coronavirus grief: Coping with the loss of routine during the pandemic

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

It isn't easy adjusting to changes brought on by the pandemic. Consider how to deal with grief caused by the loss of your normal routine.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed people's lives in many ways. In addition to feeling grief over the loss of life caused by COVID-19, you're likely grieving the loss of your normal routine.

Understanding grief caused by the coronavirus pandemicStay-at-home restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have affected people's jobs, the way kids go to school and play, and the ability to gather in person with family and friends. These measures have also changed how people shop, worship, exercise, eat and seek entertainment. As a result, the pandemic has had a major psychological impact, causing people to lose a sense of safety, predictability, control, freedom and security.

Why is the loss of your routine so upsetting? You might not realize it, but you don't only feel attachments to other people. You also probably feel powerful attachments to your work and certain places and things. The experience of losing these attachments, however, isn't as well-defined as some losses. And unexpected endings can cause strong emotions. This can make it hard to deal with what's happened and move forward.

You might also find that changes brought on by the pandemic are affecting your sense of self. For instance, if your identity is closely tied to your job, losing your job could trigger an identity crisis.

Signs and symptoms of griefGrief might cause you to feel numb or empty, angry, or unable to feel joy or sadness. You might also have physical symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or eating, excess fatigue, muscle weakness, or shakiness. You might have nightmares or socially withdraw.

 

Keep in mind, however, that grief can also have some positive effects. For example, you might feel grateful for brave and caring people in your community. You might have an increased appreciation for your relationships and have a desire to help others who are experiencing similar losses.

Coping with coronavirus grief

As awful as it might feel, grief serves an important purpose. Grief helps you recognize that you've experienced a loss and that you're going to need to adapt.

To deal with your grief:

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