Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this last year has been one full of all types of grief and loss. Many of us are likely feeling burned out by what seems to be a never ending cycle of grieving. It’s in everything–in losing loved ones, in losing community business and gathering spaces, in missing out on loved ones weddings, funerals, in not being able to meet new born children of loved ones, in losing a job you love, etc.
It’s also possible that in feeling overwhelmed by grief, you’ve tried to push it off. Grieving is a hard, uncomfortable process that doesn’t feel good in the moment–but it actually feels worse to repress it. When we don’t acknowledge our grief or give ourselves space to feel it and express it, it finds other ways to make us hear it. This can include things like:
- Appetite changes
- Issues sleeping
- Digestive issues
- Frequent outbursts
- Feelings of numbness
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent stomach aches
This is your body trying to scream out to you that something desperately needs your attention.
There are a lot of things you can do to acknowledge and express your grief. Talking about it is, of course, one of the best things you can do, but it’s also one of the hardest. Talking about our grief is incredibly vulnerable, and just like when we share any difficult emotion with someone, we need to trust that the person we’re sharing with will treat us kindly, gently and without judgment. Right now while we’re all isolated, you might not feel like you have that. A therapist is a great option for when you’re ready to talk about your grief, but until then there are other things you can do to care for yourself.
Art is another great option for music. Your medium of choice: you could be a painter, a singer, a sculptor, a collage artist, etc. Art is meant to express our emotions, and if you have an artistic passion or hobby already, you likely already intuitively know how to release your feelings through your art. Just getting your feelings out in some form helps to release the pressure that can build inside you when they are ignored.
And of course, journaling! When you aren’t ready to talk to someone else but you’re wanting to dive deep into your own feelings, journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out on paper. It can help you to discover, explore and learn how to express your feelings verbally, which can help when you do decide to share your feelings with someone else.
But jumping into journaling about your grief can feel just as scary as jumping into talking about it with someone. So to help, we’ve put this list of grief + loss journal prompts:
- Write about what you envisioned the last year was going to look like without the pandemic. If you could have had your dream year, what would it have looked like?
- What feelings come up as you describe the year you missed out on? Are you angry? Resentful? Sad?
- What are these “uncomfortable” feelings trying to tell you? For example, what is your anger really trying to communicate to you? If it could speak, what would it be saying?
- Write a letter to someone you have lost. Tell them what you didn’t get to tell them.
- Write a letter to your past self. What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time before the pandemic?
- Write a letter to your future self. What do you want a future past all of this to look like?
- Write about an experience you missed out on because of the pandemic. How did you feel when you realized you wouldn’t get to experience it? How has the loss affected you?
- Write about a loved one’s significant life event (marriage, baby, graduating school, etc.) that you weren’t able to be present for this last year. What did it feel like having to miss those things? Why was it so painful?
- What does my grief feel like in my body?
- When do I notice my grief most?
- If my grief was a person, what would it be trying to say to me?
- Imagine your grief as a child. It is depending on you to take care of it. What does it need?
- Today I feel…
- What can I learn from my grief?
If you need support through your grieving process, we can help. Get in touch with us today, and we can work with you to acknowledge & process your grief.