With the arrival of COVID-19, we are all thinking a great deal more about life and death. We are bombarded on a daily basis with the grim statistics of death in our own country and around the world. Naturally, this can be very unsettling so today we will be talking about coping with bereavement during the lockdown.
It is affecting both our conscious and subconscious minds. We are living in unprecedented times that are challenging the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we behave. We are living with restriction and lockdown and many of us are separated from family and friends, some of whom are elderly and vulnerable. There are a lot of unknowns and, seemingly, very few answers at the moment, so our negative focus can escalate and create feelings of extreme anxiety, anger, and frustration.
I wanted to share some ways to help manage these challenges, to tolerate the uncertainties, and to help develop resilience.
Reflecting on our own mortality is perhaps something that we don’t give a lot of thought to under normal circumstances. It’s only when life suddenly becomes challenging through the illness or death of someone close that this “taboo” subject can occupy much of our conscious and subconscious thought processes.
Being cognisant of our own mortality and stepping into those feelings and fears can be a helpful exercise. The energy that this process creates can empower us to live life more fully rather than just existing. So, try it. Give yourself permission to acknowledge how you really feel about dying and reflect on your own death. Then think about today and focus on what you can do to make it better. What makes you feel good, relaxed, and connected? How can you live your best life? All this will help you to build resilience and enhance your own potential.
People who are living with a terminal diagnosis live “with the end in mind”. It seems to me that this is, perhaps, the most “real” way to live, because the only thing guaranteed to happen to every one of us is our end. On a personal level, it has helped me to really shift my perspective and live with the consciousness of this fact. Thinking about my own mortality enables me to make sure that I take steps in the right direction for me, and that I am mindful and grateful every day whilst trying to live the best life for me.
I think most people would live a very different day if today was all there was and tomorrow never came. None of us know what is around the corner, so, with that thought in mind, how would we respond to how we live today? It becomes far easier to prioritise time. Relationships improve and we work towards making good things happen.
Living for today
Our past and future are not within our control, but today is! So, think about what you can do now and use those strengths and that energy to help manage your anxiety levels. Think about past challenges you have faced. How did you cope and what got you through? Who was of support at the time and would that help you now? Think about distancing yourself from those who are negative and draining, and move towards those you find fun and encouraging, and try limiting the negative news feeds. No amount of worrying and going round in circles will help, so shift your focus to something positive that will help you and get professional support if you need it.
I have realised how much there is to be learned by breathing life into death. It doesn’t feel morbid. For me, it is a life-orientated way to be.
If you are currently going through a bereavement, then please take a look at the support I offer on coping with bereavement.