Everyone is being affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in many ways. Many are experiencing some level of anxiety, and those that struggle with anxiety are certainly battling increased feelings of anxiety as this pandemic continues. At Compass Rose Academy, we approach this season by helping others grieve their losses and allow space for people to share the negative experiences they are facing.
Fear grips many who are afraid for their loved ones. People are worried about their finances and how the stock market has been affected. What started as small and large businesses increasing social-distancing protocols and limiting their hours quickly escalated to many choosing to (and even being forced to) close their doors, creating grave financial loss. In addition to the fears of the unknown and what is to come, multitudes are grieving and experiencing loss.
Athletes who worked tirelessly to prepare for competitions are not able to compete. Parents and families who were looking forward to time together have now postponed or cancelled vacations. Experiences like graduations, baby showers, weddings, and honeymoons are not happening at all for the foreseeable future. Parents are taking vacation time or unpaid time off to stay home with their kids whose school has been canceled. Many are incurring unforeseen expenses and stresses while finding and paying for childcare. Kids and adults alike are feeling the real loss of physical connection with friends. The list of losses experienced during this pandemic is staggering.
How do you respond to losses in your life? While it’s helpful to be able to find things to be grateful for in the midst of loss- and yes, the ability to see the silver lining can be a relief- it is essential to allow yourself (and others) to feel and grieve the realities of life. The ability to deal with negative reality is one of four “life capacities” Dr. John Townsend and the Growth Model advocate are necessary components of a person’s character.
Our philosophy of care centered on the Growth Model calls this character capacity Reality.
To build this capacity into your character structure, you must learn to accept what is and grieve in healthy ways so that you can adapt to reality. Take the initiative and continue to lean into the losses you are experiencing:
- Identify/name your losses.
- Share with a safe person how these losses are impacting you.
- Assess your feelings and share the sadness surrounding theses losses.
- Allow for time – let grief do its work.
- Allow yourself to receive comfort from a safe person in your life.
At Compass Rose Academy, we say that with intimate, needs-based attachments we are not left without a way to meet our relational needs. Make sure you are using your safe relationships to get your needs for comfort met as you grieve and adapt to the negative realities we are all facing during this challenging time. Furthermore, be a safe person for others to share their losses and receive comfort, avoiding the tendency to minimize pain by attempting to lessen or fix it. In this way, practice healthy grief in light of this pandemic.
By Madeline Spring, Director of Admissions