It’s difficult right now, and we may not know why.
Put aside the stuff we hear on a daily basis for a second.
How are you feeling?
What you may be feeling is grief. We’ve lost something. Dr. Pauline Boss developed a term and concept that I think fits our current experience nicely: Ambiguous Loss. A sense of unknowing, uncertainty about the future, a loss of ‘normalcy’. Ambiguous loss is especially difficult because it’s also disorienting. We try and ground ourselves by staying connected through video chats and social distance activities, but even this is getting tired. So how do we cope with this new type of grief?
5 tips for coping with ambiguous loss
- Acceptance. It’s OK to feel this way, in fact, it’s NORMAL. As humans, we are completely disrupted right now, of course we’re going to be feeling this way. Whatever you are feeling right now – it’s valid.
- Reduce information overload. It can be easy to get swept up in the daily report of numbers, the constant news briefs and updates. With the news and recommendations constantly changing, this may not actually provide any relief. Choose your news sources, and limit them to only pertinent information, then turn it off.
- Focus on what you know. In the spinning world of uncertainty, find some sense of permanence. Use your skills, feel a sense of achievement, complete small tasks that build a sense of confidence, completion and success.
- Adopt a “both-and” way of thinking. Our thoughts and emotions may be highly conflicted right now. An example is that you hate being stuck at home so much, but are enjoying the extra time with your family. Both can be true, and we don’t have to combat these feelings to figure out which one is right. They both are. Ambiguity naturally creates confusion, consider that things don’t have to be either-or right now. Embrace both-and-ness.
- Be kind. To yourself, and to others. Missing someone? Tell them. Send letters, consider the old fashioned way, (with paper and a stamp!) to let someone know you are thinking of them, and you may put a smile on their face. Find creative ways to stay connected, and take care of yourself.