I’ve been pondering lately about what to write. Usually, I’m full of new ideas and spontaneous potential blog posts—sometimes on a daily basis. But not lately.
And then I realized why. I’m grieving—and I’m not alone in it.
The entire world is grieving due to COVID-19. And it’s overwhelming. Naturally, I’m sad about my own disappointments, but I’m also sensitive to the experiences of others.
The heartbreak that so many other people must be feeling—the loss of loved ones; the rights of passage for high school and college seniors; the cancelling of sporting events, worldwide conferences, and Broadway shows; and even the closing of bars and restaurants—many of which may never come back from this.
And then came the layoffs. I know the feeling. I’ve been laid off more than once. And it stings every time. Losing a job is a major loss.
So how do we process our grief and continue living in all of this ambiguity? We learn to live one day at a time. In fact, at this moment we don’t have a choice. Due to social distancing and sheltering in place, we are all being forced to live “unprecedentedly present” for the first time in our lives.
This time of uncertainty can be extremely overwhelming. But it can also be opportunity—time to reconnect with ourselves and with each other in new and deeper ways. And part of this connection comes from giving ourselves permission to grieve.
Grieving is essential. It releases the emotions associated with trauma, and helps to heal the body, mind, and soul.
The sooner we allow ourselves to move through anger, denial, frustration, and eventually acceptance, the sooner we can set a new direction. And in the meantime, grief will come in waves.
But so will clarity.
Clarity comes when we learn to accept our present circumstances and look for the good in each experience. This act of reframing helps to rekindle our sense of hope for the future.
We all know that this pandemic will eventually pass, and we will soon step into a new reality with an appreciation of the freedoms we still have. Eventually, our grief will turn to hope and we will breathe again.
And until then, we stay present and mindful.
Be safe. Be healthy. Be well.
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a career coach, best-selling author, and founder of The White Box Club™ — live coaching and resources for people in career transition. Find his syndicated blogs on Thrive Global, Medium, and The Huffington Post. Learn more at connect.michaelcreative.com