We have been experiencing major lifestyle
restrictions and are working hard to adjust. Our daily activities and routines have been greatly disturbed. Working from home, home schooling, and isolating at home for the majority of hours each day all contribute to the increased stress many of us are experiencing.
Essential service workers carry a heavy burden and most take their stress home with them. In addition, many are implementing greater isolation techniques at home in order to protect their families. Many of the elderly who looked forward to their visits with family have to settle for a phone call. Adults miss meeting up with friends. Children are deprived of the socialization activities and interactions needed for their social development skills; and in general, miss being with their “best” friends. The world has changed around us and we are handling it the best we can.
As human beings we are a social society. The impact of physical distancing, social isolation and the accompanying feelings of loneliness cannot be underestimated. Many of our belief systems are being rattled. Anxiety and depression can possibly set in. We are all going through a necessary process of restructuring our lives. We are all struggling to understand what we are feeling.
What we are feeling is the result of experiencing major loss.
We are all experiencing grief!
It might be helpful to see our feelings in light of the classic stages of grief introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first presented in 1969; shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This is the process we go through when we experience the loss of a loved one, of a job, or in response to other significant life circumstances that require major adjustment.
Every person moves through each of these stages at their own pace. Slowly, over time, we find our way back to the new version of life revised to comfort us, shedding our doubts, and helping to move on with our lives.
5 STAGES OF GRIEF
First we are in complete shock that this has happened at all. We can’t believe it! This is a defense mechanism by our brains to prevent an extended or permanent shutdown. We move through these initial days apart from ourselves. We feel as if someone else is moving through this torturous life and even speaking our words for us.
Next we experience denial. We ask ourselves how this can be happening. This cannot be happening! This cannot be true! We become overwhelmed by the contradictory thoughts of living an accustomed life yet denying that it exists.
Anger is the next stage and is an integral part to be experienced in order to heal. It may show up fast and furious until there is no more anger within us to express. Or we may seethe in a slow burn, slowly releasing bit by bit the anger that we feel. Anger is pain expressed and is in response to a fear or fears. Anger, oddly enough gives us a foundational structure to that “numb” feeling of shock and denial. It gives us the reappearance of energy and strength to build something new in our future.
Bargaining comes next. We now have recognized deep within us we need to make changes, but we still want “the way it was before” the loss. We play “let’s make a deal” inside our heads. This too, adds to that foundational structure; we are making a tenuous truce inside ourselves.
Acceptance of the reality of the current situation initiates the mindset in which we realize we must move on to the next step. Moving forward enables us to start building upon the new foundation we have somewhat tentatively constructed under these new circumstances. Where depression allowed us to speak to our heart, acceptance allows us to listen to our heart. Which parts of this feels right to keep in our life and which parts need discarding? We realize we are facing our fears and can now move forward. Once we start moving forward, we regain self-confidence to find our way. Once we do, there will be no stopping us.
These stages are fluid and may overlap, double back, and move back and forth. Once the total grief process is behind us we emerge stronger for it. We have a greater understanding of who we are, what we a capable of, and we will be able to realize the importance of our existence in the here and now more clearly.
We are resilient!
📞 Kai Greenway
Kai Greenway is a Spiritual Advisor and Animal Spirit Guide at 12listen.com
Tune in weekly to Kai’s radio show, The Long Road on 12radio.