Staying at home and working from home but feeling beat? That is normal. We are in the middle of a pandemic, and just thinking about how to survive is exhausting. No one was prepared for a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19.
That unfamiliar discomfort you’re feeling is not just fatigue or anxiety, though. A lot of us have been surprised by grief. We mourn not only for the people claimed by the disease, but also for the things and opportunities we’ve lost – be it a job, the freedom to move, a sense of predictability, sense of security, or any deep attachment.
One way to find comfort in this season is to find a meaning behind what’s going on.
4 Ways to Find Meaning During a Pandemic
1. Embrace the Loss
How do we overcome the pain of being deprived of the things we value most? Embrace the loss with arms wide open – otherwise, grief may linger on as sickness or depression.
Grief can hurt in more ways than one. It affects the whole body, especially our immune system. The last thing we want in a pandemic is to compromise our body’s natural defences.
2. Express Your Grief
Therapists say that crying and screaming are healthy expressions of grief, and dancing and singing can also be restorative expressions of emotion.
If these are not your natural expressions, it could be humour which is key to keeping you healthy and disease-free. So yes, funny memes on social media are a valid coping mechanism.
3. Find Moments of Joy
After expressing your grief, it’s time to find joy in little things. Why? Because pleasure shuts down the release of stress hormones like cortisol. When you are happy, it triggers the production of feel-good chemicals in our brain like dopamine, which has all kinds of calming, anti-anxiety benefits.
During a pandemic, finding the meaning in our situation allows moments of joy to come in to let go of some of your pain. Whatever brings you happiness, don’t feel guilty for it.
4. Focus on Self-Care
It’s good to hone your skills, upgrade your knowledge and skills, and be productive during this time. What’s important is you focus your efforts to find rest and centre yourself. If online classes help you achieve that balance, go for it. But practice mental wellness, whether through sleep, exercise indoors, meditation, personal passion project, or binging on your movie or TV series, by all means.
CNN Health cites that you should put activities that bring you peace and moments of happiness as a goal. Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
5. Find Normalcy
Let’s face it; being in the middle of a pandemic is a stressful experience, an uncharted territory. So be kind to yourself. Define and accept your new normal this season.
As the psychologist, Sonya Lott puts it, “Acknowledge that we’re living in abnormal times, and don’t criticize yourself for feeling grief, whether the loss involves death or not.”
May we all find meaning after this crisis and rise up stronger than ever. Keep your family safe during this period by boosting your body’s natural defences.