The recent floods have disrupted our lives even if we haven’t been directly impacted by the flood waters. Many people are struggling with change and uncertainty about safety and have worries about their future finances and the well-being of friends and family. You may find that you feel “not quite yourself”. You may be distracted, anxious, irritable, angry, and fearful. You might feel alone, with a sense of despair or hopelessness. The flood has stirred up emotions and thoughts that are very similar to those we experience when we grieve.
Death is not the only time we grieve. It is normal to grieve whenever you lose something or someone important to you. The flood has led to a whole series of losses that are affecting our sense of safety, social connections, personal freedoms, and daily routines. At the same time it has caused significant changes and losses in our healthcare, economic, and government systems. It is normal to have thoughts or questions that may not have answers especially when you grieve.
There are some things you can do that may help you through the Pandemic and may help you feel better, such as:
Feel what you feel -Feelings are not right or wrong. Let your emotions move through you. When you suppress or avoid these feelings they tend to become bigger.
Stay informed but set limits on exposure to “bad news” – It’s important to know what’s happening, but set limits on how much time you spend on the news reports and “bad news” stories. Focus on the positives, such as kindness, humour, and creativity.
Focus on what you can control – Follow the guidance of the Public Health experts. Try to look after yourself by healthy eating, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Connect with others – Have regular phone calls with family and friends. Connect using Skype, Face Time or social media. Help friends or neighbours, following guidelines for social distancing. Show support and appreciation for those in essential roles.
Get support for your mental health – If you need more help, reach out. Many national and provincial mental health programs have set up online and telephone supports. Check out the local mental health and other support services such as Merritt Hospice and BC Bereavement Helpline. Use on-line resources such as Canadian Virtual Hospice. Connect or reconnect with your faith community.
When you are in the depths of your grief, it can be hard to believe that you can heal and take part in life again. Grief comes in waves. It’s more like a hilly, winding road than a mountain. Everyone grieves differently. The changes you see in yourself and those around you could be your responses to grief. Try to be kind and patient with yourself and others in these challenging times.
Adapted from Canadian Virtual Hospice
Submitted by Merritt and District Hospice Society
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