Going into ‘lockdown’ once again has made many people feel more isolated, particularly with the change in weather. Grieving in isolation can make loss feel magnified, but social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
Don’t make contact impossible
If you’re used to being the life and soul of the party, you might feel that you don’t want to be around people until you can be ‘yourself’ again. But it’s not all or nothing. If you notice that you’re avoiding people because having contact feels like it would be too overwhelming or just too much, pause and question why. Is there a way that you could make the contact easier? Maybe by putting a time limit on the meeting, or arranging an activity to concentrate on, or even telling the other person what you feel able to talk about and what you’d prefer to avoid? People will be far more adaptable than you think, and it’s often a relief for them to know what you’d find most helpful.
Don’t tell yourself what you should find helpful. It only adds to the feeling of isolation, and right now, anything that helps you feel connected is the right thing. If meeting new people feels daunting, stick with established relationships for now. If it’s helpful to spend time with people who don’t know you’re bereaved, let yourself. Some people find joining an online community or community charity project helpful, sometimes working on something with other people gives a sense of solidarity. It could be a community knit-a-long, online choir or pub quiz, or a group getting together to recreate the Library of Alexandria in Minecraft.
Maybe the mountain still feels too big. Advice can sometimes start somewhere that feels out of reach when you’re in crisis. Start as small as you need to, maybe with having the radio on for company. If you’re a technologically minded person, check out online streams. Lots of people livestream themselves cooking, working on projects or studying, so that others can work alongside them and feel connected, especially in lockdown.
Small steps might not feel significant, but when you’re having a hard time, small bits of positivity can give you the energy to try something a little more stretching, or out of your comfort zone.
Think of it like a domino effect. Instead of straining to push over the medium size domino that you think you should be able to manage, let the momentum of the little ones give you a boost.
Check in with yourself
The important thing is to check in with yourself and see if the activity is helping you feel connected, or if it’s making you feel more isolated. Sometimes the things that we assume will help can work differently to how we expected. Try to figure out what was and wasn’t helpful about it. Do video calls make you feel less connected than phone calls, even though you can see people’s faces? Was video calling a relief, but the conversation was stilted? Try to work out if the unhelpful aspect is intrinsic or, if it’s something that could be fixed next time. Even if things don’t go the way we want them to, it’s still a learning experience.
Ask for help if you need it
There are so many ways to share your grief.
Memory jars, for instance, can be a great way of sharing with loved ones and building traditions for the years ahead.
Dove Buddies is our social/friendship group we offer to adults to help to connect them online during the pandemic if they are feeling isolated and lonely following the loss of a loved one. Click here for more details .
We can also offer one-to-one counselling either through video call or by telephone. To access our COVID-19 grief support during the pandemic, get in touch with us on Tel. 01782 683155 and speak to our counselling team.
Please Note – Our Head Office opening hours are Mon-Fri (0900am to 1700pm) – please leave a message on our voicemail if your call cannot be answered immediately.