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But How Are You *Really* Doing

For many of us, we're well into week three or four of social distancing and sheltering-in-place.

So we've got this whole thing down pretty well by now, and our emotions aren't quite as scattered or intense, right? NOT NECESSARILY!

Here's the thing you need to hear: All of your feelings are normal!

There are so many changes happening on a weekly (or daily) basis, that our feelings are likely going to go through phases. Unfortunately, there's no specific road map when it comes to feelings, especially those of grief.


The image above helps illustrate how our emotions might ebb and flow through this COVID pandemic. David Kessler, a grief expert who co-authored books with fellow grief expert Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, recently explored the feelings of grief we can expect to feel during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Harvard Business Review interview, Kessler explored anticipatory grief and anxiety, and the importance of remembering that people don't move through the stages of grief in a linear manner.

What does that mean?

Simply put, we can move through these stages, and suddenly find ourselves back at a previous stage. While making your way to acceptance is the ideal goal, that timeline will look different for everyone. You may feel mentally stronger one day than the next. One week you may feel more motivated than you did the previous week. Recognize that this is normal and expected given the current circumstances, and be more patient and compassionate with yourself and others as we navigate these new, ever-changing waters. 


Sure, it's important to gain an understanding of expected emotional responses during times of crisis. But do you know what else is important?

Just checking in with one another and genuinely asking: HOW ARE YOU DOING?

So here goes...

  • To those who are parents: How are your nerves holding up? Are you giving yourself some extra grace right now?

  • To the medical/healthcare providers: I see you, and I thank you! I know you’re being strong, but how are you really feeling? It’s okay to not be a strong rock at all times. So what are you doing for yourself and your wellness right now? How are you coping?

  • To those who are sheltering in place aloneHow are you staying connected with others? Truly, what are you feeling these days? What do you need more of to comfort you right now?

  • To my mental health and counseling peers: How are you holding up? And don’t feel you have to give a “therapized” answer! Have you found it hard to hold others’ emotions while navigating the same situation/feelings? What are you doing for your own well-being right now?

Taking the time to reach out to those in your world to see how they are holding up - just a bit of time to focus on others - can be a great way to step out of your own overwhelming emotions for a bit, too. Just be a listener, a supporter, and an empathetic ear to someone you think might need it most right now. 


And Just Because These Reminders Might Be Helpful...


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