How to Cope With Grief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

You could also talk to a therapist, who can conduct virtual appointments via phone or video call. If you want to focus on getting help coping with loss, sites like Psychology Today allow you to search specifically for a professional who specializes in bereavement work.

Create rituals to memorialize your loved one

Taking time to grieve and remember the person you lost is important for processing your feelings, and there are rituals and moments of remembrance you can do on your own, Dorlester explains. She recommends engaging in activities that make you feel “attached to them even though they’re not there, and that can flood you with fond memories of the person.”

This could be cooking a favorite recipe that you associate with them, going to the park and writing a letter to them every week at the same time, making a playlist of songs that you both enjoyed. You could also fill a box with mementos and photos, and use it as a kind of stand-in for a memorial. Brennan recommends lighting a candle and journaling about the person, painting scenes that are reminiscent of time you spent together, or reading a poem that makes you think of them. You could also create a photo album or a display in your home as a way of honoring them.

There may also be safe, socially-distanced ways to hold a ceremony with others. Brennan suggests finding open space outside where you and a few people (each six feet apart) can send off paper lanterns, or creating an outdoor memorial that friends can visit on their own time.

Acknowledge that mourning is particularly difficult right now

“Right now, there’s a different element to [grief], because people may not have been able to see the person when they were sick or dying,” explains Brennan. “There could be a little more guilt or deeper sadness.” Dealing with additional emotions can complicate the grief and make recovering and processing emotions even more challenging now, but it can help to acknowledge that reality, she says.

“There’s no workaround for grief. There’s no one way to grieve, and everyone grieves differently,” according to New York City-based family grief counselor and certified thanatologist Jill Cohen. Grieving while socially isolated can lead to too much time ruminating in your head, which can intensify the feelings of sadness, she says.

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