fbpx

COVID-19 Mental Health: Is What I’m Experiencing Called Grief? Print

COVID Coping and Managing Change

Mental health awareness guest blog post by Adele Fox, Psychologist

woman sitting on the couch with her head in her hands looking stressed

Is what I’m experiencing called grief?

 

At some point in our lives there comes a time when we reflect back on what could have been, or what we could be doing now or in the future. This tends to occur when we are in the midst of a life transition or stepping into the unknown.

 

The world we are currently experiencing is causing many to take that time to reflect on how we live and how we want to live. Ultimately I believe we need to grieve the dream of what we thought our life would be, to give ourselves the room to create a new dream going forward.

 

The current world landscape as it pertains to Covid-19 is an opportunity to evaluate and grieve some of these dreams, as we are in an unknown transition.

 

Defining Grief

 

With grieving can come an emotional roller coaster that if not understood, can cause undue stress.

 

Let’s look at one definition of grief: The conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.

 

We have been thrust into the unknown. All of us have had our routines disrupted in some way. Whether that be a shift in how we work, having to have our children at home 24/7, restricted in our self-care activities, and on the most extreme end the death of someone we know. Coupled with this is the uncertainty of the future and how this crisis will change how our lives look.

 

The psychological stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 is still a model we utilize today.

 

The 5 stages of grief

 

The 5 stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness and Acceptance.

 

If you apply our current situation to these stages, our emotional experiences start to make more sense and are normal.

 

Denial :“This is no big deal, it’s just the flu. This won’t impact us”

Anger: “How dare you or the government tell me what to do” or “I can’t do what I want.” Or “I had to cancel that vacation/wedding/event”.

Bargaining: “Ok, if I stay home for 14 days then I’ll be allowed to get back to my routine and everything will be fine?” Or “if I hang out with people I know that’s ok?”.

Sadness: “Will this ever end? I think about those worse off” or “I miss my friends, activities, etc.”

Acceptance: “This is real and happening so I will find a way to cope and get through it.”

 

Keep in mind these stages are not linear. We can move up and down through the stages like a game of Snakes and Ladders! But eventually if we keep trying we get to the top.

 

Acceptance is where all our positive power lies. It’s in acceptance that we have choice, and with choice we have control. We can wash our hands, make someone laugh, practice being in the present, spend quality time with our children, manage our social distancing, and develop new self-care approaches that we can do in our home.

 

It’s important to realize that in any type of grief process, it is temporary. It will not last forever therefore there is an element of control knowing that it will have an end point.

 

The 6th stage of grief

 

A 6th stage of grief was developed by Kübler-Ross’s colleague David Kessler. He termed it Meaning. I believe this is a valuable stage to understand and activate. It is the understanding of what we can take away from the loss we have/are experiencing. A ‘silver lining’ we can call it. The capacity for hope and the resilience of the human spirit comes from our ability to learn and grow from our experiences and understand a purpose in our suffering that we can use powerfully going forward.

 

There is meaning in this world experience we are going through, and an opportunity to manifest new dreams. Each person will derive their own meaning as it relates to them individually, and meaning as it relates to our communities as a whole. It is ok that you may not see the meaning just yet, as it may come much later when you least expect it. Remind yourself this is temporary, and implement acceptance (aka control) in a positive way so when the world reboots, you can reboot with it.

 

For many of us, we can reflect and experience some positivity in having to stay at home. However there are adults and children who are not so fortunate. For those that are currently living in unsafe home environments, please note the following 24/7 resources:

  • Family Violence Hotline/Women’s Emergency Shelter: 403.234.SAFE (7233) or 1-866-606-7233
  • Distress Hotline: 403-266-HELP (4357)
  • Men’s Counselling Service: 403-299-9680
  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-688-6868
  • Teen Help Phone: 1-403-264-8336 (TEEN)
  • Elder Abuse Hotline: 403-705-3250
  • Canadian Mental Health Association https://cmha.ca/

 

Looking for more healthy living tips?

 

woman sitting on the couch with her head in her hands looking stressedCheck out these other articles related to COVID-19 health on our blog:

 

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for nutrition and wellness articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits you can live with for life. Our nutrition newsletter is written by health and wellness experts and the Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

 

Click here to sign-up for our free weekly newsletter

 

image.png

 

Psychologist Adele Fox and her team provide comprehensive services spanning assessment, treatment and/or support for a range of mental health needs at any age. Specializing in a range of mental health needs, they will help you recognize your blind spots and stretch into more of your inherent abilities. Video, office and phone appointment available (daytime, evening, weekday and weekend availability). For more information visit: www.adelefox.com

 

As seen in

  •  

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This