As a grief counselor, I am aware of how the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted everyday life. People are stressed and this is manifesting in many emotional reactions, brought on by uncertainty and fear. People are experiencing personal grief because of shifts in livelihood or the loss of a job and fear of contagion. The necessary isolation leaves us bereft of those with whom we normally gather to share our thoughts and feelings. Video conferencing, Zoom parties or cocktail hours work to some degree but are strangely exhausting. And even those people for whom staying at home is a welcome break from the rat race of commuting to high pressured jobs or trying to conduct business in stiletto heels, the collective anxiety is palpable.
People are frightened and worried about contagion. We do not know how long this will last or how long we will need to stay at least 6 feet apart. We do not feel safe. And for those who have the virus or know someone close it, not being able to be with them to offer care and comfort is a frustration and a deep sorrow. Death in the time of COVID-19 is lonely – our traditional ways of mourning are halted.
But there are ways we lessen the impact of all this uncertainty. We can embrace staying home and find ways to enjoy it. We can reach out to friends and family and remain socially connected even as we maintain physical distance. There are creative ways to do this and I am offering five Karuna Cards to help with this.
The Karuna Cards are a deck of 52 creative ideas for grief and difficult life transitions. I think we can agree that life in the time of coronavirus is indeed a difficult time! These prompts can be processed privately in a journal or you could use them as a springboard for conversation.
Karuna Cards are available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. More information about the Karuna Cards and other publications can be found on my website.
Identifying what gives you joy, even in the midst of upheaval is important. Reflect on this question and write about it in a journal if you like or start a conversation with others about this. How can you generate moments of joy or even contentment during this time?
Taking compassionate action can help those who are feeling low or are adversely affected by the virus. When we are kind to others, it helps us feel better ourselves. Also, we often forget to be compassionate towards ourselves. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, stop for a bit. Do something kind for yourself.
This Karuna Card invites you to develop an action plan of things that help you feel grounded, calmer and more peaceful. Make a list and implement it.
Focusing on what you feel grateful for is beneficial for awakening you to people, activities and things that bring delight, peace and connection to your life. Keeping a daily list is a good activity in difficult times.
Mindfulness helps us focus on the present moment, letting go of uncertainty, worry and fear about the future. Taking a mindful approach to a simple daily activity is a simple way to take a break from overwrought emotions. Try making a mindful cup of tea or eat your meal slowly and mindfully. You can also apply this technique to a walk in nature, by slowing it down, paying attention to your breathing and noticing your surroundings.