Even if you haven’t experienced a direct loss during the Covid-19 pandemic, you shouldn’t assume that what you’re experiencing isn’t grief. Whilst grief can come about as a response to death, it can also be caused by other forms of loss too, including the loss of our usual routines and the ability to see family and friends. As a care worker, you’re more likely than most to have encountered loss during the pandemic. A lot of demands will be being placed on you right now both personally and professionally, however, if you think you might be struggling with grief, it’s important that you take steps to recovery so you can reach a point of acceptance and closure.
Identifying Grief in Yourself
It’s important to remember that grief looks different in everyone, and there is no wrong way to grieve. However, there are some symptoms that are commonly experienced as a result of grief.
Physical symptoms of grief
● Shortness of breath
● Nausea & stomach aches
● Loss of appetite
● Fatigue or tiredness
Emotions symptoms of grief
● Shock or numbness
● Intense sadness
Some Healthy Ways to Deal with Grief
Practice forms of self-care
Self-care comes in many forms, whether it’s meditation, exercise, reading, journaling or crafting. Try and find a form of self-care that best helps you to unwind and recharge. Not only will self-care release endorphins but it will also restore the balance to your life during this uncertain and chaotic time.
Take extra care of your physical health
Your mental and physical health are intrinsically linked. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly will help you to regulate your emotions. Keeping to a regular exercise plan will bring back some stability and a sense of control in your life too, making it easier to tackle larger issues.
Take breaks when you need
As a keyworker, you might not feel as though you’re able to step back from the demands being placed on you. However, it’s important that you take breaks when you need to prevent burnout. Try and find a quiet place both at work and at home, where you can go to find a moment’s rest if things are getting too much.
Lean on family and friends
Lean on family and friends and try to open up to your colleagues about how you’re feeling. Each person will be able to offer a different perspective and will have their own way of offering support. Remember that everyone has experienced loss to some degree during the pandemic, so should be able to empathise. It’s very likely that someone you open up to will be feeling the same way.
We spoke to Malcolm Simister at UKS Mobility about what advice he would give to careworkers who are experiencing grief at this time:
“As a care worker, there are many factors that could trigger feelings of grief during this time. First of all, you need to understand that your feelings are entirely valid in this situation. You might be feeling as though your grief is less important than being there for your patients at this time however, your needs are as important as theirs.
Sometimes, the symptoms and feelings that come with grief can be overwhelming, and this can make it hard to complete everyday tasks. As a key worker, a lot of pressure is being put on you right now to perform at your best. Remember you’re entitled to breaks from your responsibilities if you need them. If necessary, try and schedule your shifts to ensure you’re getting as many breaks during the working week as you need.”