Being locked in your house 24/7 isn't the ideal way to deal with grief. Yet, more and more of us are faced with it daily.
After my dad died, I hated silence. The first time I noticed this was in the car with my grandma, on the way to get dinner. Our conversation had died down, and I remember feeling a sense of dread rise up in my chest as the silence began. With no noise around me, I was forced to come face to face with my grief, and I felt the weight of the world pressing down on my shoulders. From then on, during the beginning of my grief, I tried to avoid silence whenever possible.
Being locked in my house all day brings a lot of silence. When I'm not talking to my family, we go to our separate corners of the house and leave each other alone. And, alone time means a lot of quiet.
So, how can we deal with grief during these times? Here is a list of 10 coping methods you can use while being quarantined:
1. Prioritize your health. The first day of quarantine, my first instinct was to not get dressed, to eat junk food, and to do nothing. If I had went with this plan, I would've actually felt much worse than if I had chosen to participate in healthy activities! Try to eat healthy food daily (though some junk food is okay), hopefully get some physical exercise, and still do activities that you did before quarantine for your health.
2. Spend time in nature. Most states still allow you to go outside for a walk or a bike ride. Even though it may not seem the most enjoyable, getting out in nature can improve your mood greatly and be a nice break from being inside all day.
3. Seek help from your support system. If you are struggling, you still have your support system to rely on, even if you can't see each other in person. It's okay to let your friends and family know when you are having a hard time, so you can receive the support from them that you need.
4. Take up a hobby. Everyone is faced with a lot of free time right now, so why not use it? Pick up an old hobby, or one you've always wanted to try out, and see how it goes! Start bullet journaling (or regular journaling), drawing, reading, writing, or whatever else you've always dreamed of doing!
5. Express your emotions. Pretending like you aren't grieving or that everything is fine will only hurt you later. Take time out of your day to think about your loved one, feel your emotions, and let yourself grieve for a little bit.
6. Save memories. Having a lot of time on your hands means that you can take up some hobbies that you weren't able to before. For example, a great way to remember your loved one is by writing down memories you have with them. Find a small box that you can keep in your room, and whenever you think of a memory involving your loved one, write it down on a small piece of paper and put it in the box. You can also put photos and other items that make you think of your loved one in the box.
7. Make things to look forward to daily. It's much easier to stay positive when you have things to look forward to each day. For example, if you have lots of school work to do, think of something you enjoy doing and plan to do it after you're done. I do this with TV shows I want to watch, and spend my day looking forward to seeing an episode after my work is all done.
8. Create virtual social plans. Just because you can't see anyone face to face doesn't mean that you can't hang out still! Amazing apps such as FaceTime and Google Meet exist, and you can schedule a time that you and your friend(s) can hang out.
9. Seek counseling.Lots of counselors now offer virtual sessions, which can help you cope with your grief. Contact your counselor to see if they are offering sessions online.
10. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you're having a bad day, accept that you may not get a lot done. That's okay! Take a break, do something enjoyable, and when you're ready get back to your school work. Everyone is struggling right now, so it's okay that you are too.
If you feel overwhelmed and like you can't handle your emotions by yourself, please seek support from a parent, guidance counselor, or another trusted adult. Grief can be hard to deal with during this time, and it is important to get help that you may need.
Coping with quarantine and teenage grief is hard, but not impossible. These 10 things will definitely help you, and if you think of any more, be sure to leave a comment.
Suggested: 11 Ways to Support a Grieving Friend.
This article was written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Patrick Perkins.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. The content on the Teenage Grief Sucks website is mostly written by teenagers, and not licensed professionals. If you need medical help, seek assistance from a licensed therapist or, if it is urgent, contact emergency services in your area.