Concerned

Anxious

Confused

Nervous

Afraid

For the first time in history, humanity is united in a common cause.

I have heard the above words many times since the lockdown occurred on March 25. Whatever you may be feeling is understandable because the world has never had to deal with a global crisis of this magnitude before.

While unhelpful feelings are understandable in the circumstances, they are not desirable. The COVID-19 virus has created a crisis and crises can trigger the grieving process within us.

It’s useful to be able to label the roller coaster of emotions you may be experiencing at present as an integral part of the grieving process because you can then begin to deal with them.

Typical Stages of Grieving through the COVID-19 crisis:

1.   Disbelief – This can’t be happening

2.   Denial – The virus won’t affect us

3.   Anger – I’m being confined to my home

4.   Bargaining – OK, if I stay at home for four weeks this thing will have passed, right?

5.   Bleakness – I don’t know when this will end.

6.   Acceptance – This is happening and I have to figure out how I can best move forward.

The above steps imply a neat, linear sequence, through a negative transition; the reality is anything but that. We can spend more time in one phase than another, slip back to earlier phases, or get stuck somewhere on the convoluted journey.

Accompanying the grieving process is an acute sense of loss. A loss of normality from our daily lives. A loss of connection from our loved ones, friends, colleagues. Financial loss. Anticipatory fear about what the future holds. As stated earlier, these feelings are understandable given the current circumstances, but they are not desirable.

Acceptance is where the power lies because that is where we can exercise control.

·     I can contact people who give my life meaning.

·     I can work virtually.

·     I can keep a safe distance.

·     I can wash my hands.

·     I can do the jobs I have been putting off.

·     I can donate blood to NZ Blood Service.

It’s important to remember that your thoughts are not reality, but rather a result of activity within your brain. A problem occurs when we treat our thoughts as if they are reality.

That can be very frightening and it can cause us to amplify those thoughts which causes us to lose perspective where we take a situation and run it through to its worst possible outcome, that is called catastrophising.

Catastrophising thrusts us into survival mode where our focus narrows to the threat at hand and we look for evidence to support our worst fears. From there we can get caught up in an ever-decreasing downward spiral. It is easy to lose hope in that dark place.

I encourage you to reflect on the following quote:

“Our ultimate test is not where we stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where we stand in times of challenge and controversy” (Martin Luther-King Jnr)

We have put together a Toolkit package that is intended to help deal with stress, anxiety and feelings of helplessness that you may be experiencing in these times of global uncertainty.

It is available to you free of charge by contacting our office

or if you would like to contact me directly, please do so via:

richard@richardjoseph.co.nz or 0274 331 393.

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