4 Types of Grief You May Have Experienced in 2020 + Healing Tools
2020 is coming to a close and many can’t wait for a new year to start. Nobody could imagine spending an entire year physically and mentally fighting a pandemic, absorbing images of continued violence against black and brown bodies, and social distancing. However, if you’re reading this, you made it through; even if only by a thread. That’s something worth declaring! Yes, you are here- you made it.
It’s so important to reflect and acknowledge the ways you may have experienced grief this year. Why? It's a way to gain clarity, gain a deeper understanding of yourself, and create space for healing. Although we have no idea what 2021 has in store for us, we can prepare our mind, body, and spirit to navigate things the best we can.
Here are common types of grief you might have felt this year and tools to help support your healing process while navigating tough feelings:
What is Grief?
When you hear the word “grief” what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s a loved one passing away or the ending of a relationship. Both are valid forms of grief, and there are so many more types. Grief can feel like a part of you is dying––the pain is often unbearable.
You should know grief is a natural response to loss and something everyone will feel at some point in their life. What’s important is how you manage and grow through it.
It is essential to know that ignoring grief won’t make it go away; in fact, it can make things worse. Unresolved grief can trigger depression, anxiety, or emotional exhaustion.
Stages of Grief
Everyone experiences grief differently, which is why it’s not always easy to identify. For example, one individual may find it hard to get out of bed, while another may fill up their schedule to avoid being alone and facing their emotions. You may also find your grief evolves and changes from day to day.
There are various stages of grief, but five are most commonly known include:
Denial: You may say things like “This isn’t real, it’s not happening” and be in a state of shock.
Anger: It isn’t uncommon to feel angry when you begin processing a loss. You might take that out on yourself, other people, or the systems at large.
Bargaining: This is why you may hear yourself saying “if only I had” or “what if I did this instead”.
Depression: Common signs of depression are losing interest in hobbies, eating too much or too little, anxiety, irritability, and suicidal thoughts.
Acceptance: Although it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t feel anymore pain, you have accepted the loss and are ready to gradually move on in some ways.
Grief isn’t a linear process, so you won't necessarily go through each stage in chronological order. You could also be stuck in one phase for longer than you’d like before you move onto another.