"That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief" and Tips

Posted by fiesty76 @fiesty76, Sep 6 5:36am

From David Kessler, co-author of Kubler Ross's "5 Stages of Grief", posted in Harvard Business Review. Now months after the initial outbreak of Covid-19 and publication of this article, I found re-reading this last night very supportive and encouraging.

For others like me, who have begun to wonder if the pandemic will ever end, it is good to be reminded that it will and there are steps to take to strengthen our endurance going forward.

For me, taking a break from media news, is one form of self-care and a way of "letting go of that which I cannot control".

What ways are others finding that help keep positivity in the forefront on days when discouragement threatens peace of mind?
https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

@fiesty76, interesting that you bring this article forward almost 5 months to the day that @gingerw first posted it. See the ensuing discussion here:
– A New Kind of Grief in These Times https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/a-new-kind-of-grief-in-these-times/

It is a good exercise to re-read it and to reflect where you are now and keeping an eye on one's health and mental well-being. I also read an interesting article in the paper this morning about one journalists media detox, where he reads the news only on Sundays, and that as a journalist.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-as-a-lifelong-news-addict-i-decided-to-kick-the-habit/
For me, I find positivity in my garden without radio or music and listen to the sounds around me.

Fiesty, I wonder how your reflections and actions may have evolved these past 5 months. Care to share?

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thank you for posting. I think that unsettled feeling of grief has evolved over the last 6 months as I realize this is a new way of life for me. Especially with so many not following precautions now and gathering in the old way. I don't feel I can do that as cancer patient that has had respiratory issues from mets. It is a dull ache that is hard to define, almost like homesickness for what was, but knowing this is my new reality.. I am trying to work outside in my yard as much as possible, just getting outside helps. and connecting socially when I can, outside with physical distancing. I think prayer/meditation is something I need to work on as well.

Fiesty76, thank you for sharing the article. I look forward to reading it. It helps to know "we"(patients) are in this together. Have a lovely Labor day.

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@fiesty76 I speak only for myself, in this reply. When things slowly evolve, we may not notice the changes without a prolonged view in hindsight. By then, we have adjusted incrementally, often automatically, without much thought. When there is a sudden radical shift required, we often are brought up short by requirements thrust upon us. Some of us "go along" with the plan, some of us rebel. We grieve for things not done, or plans not played out due to the immediate nature of the change. It's normal, it's natural, and it is how we either respond or react that is the telling of our character.
Ginger

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Hi @top and @cco50, I see that this discussion has encouraged you to post your first message. Welcome. I also thank you for bringing this topic back on track about health and wellbeing.

@top, what does your reality look like? Do you live with a condition that puts you at high risk? How have you adapted to the new normal of these times?

@cco50, certainly as a cancer patient or anyone with a health condition, the risk calculation and recalibration has become a necessity. And it would appear that this is the new normal that we will all have to accept into our lives for some time to come, even as we mourn what used to be. Are you currently receiving treatment and going to appointments regularly? How has your comfort level changed over time?

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@gingerw; @fiesty76– I believe that the world is profoundly changed. I do not believe that we will get back what we had, too much has happened. There have been way too many lies that have hurt millions of people and the distrust that has occurred as a result. When we feel betrayed we can not reconcile that feeling until something is done about it and nothing has been done about COVID-19 as yet by the people who we should have been able to trust all along. We might be grieving for all of these things now that we have lost or for things that have changed. But to grieve, truly grieve, we need to miss something that will never be back and we don't know what will be back and what won't. This is particularly important to me because of my lung cancer. I no longer have the freedom to walk among friends, meet in public places for a drink or go tot he drugstore in fear of becoming sicker. I haven't hugged my sister in so long, I miss her comfort.

@cco50– Welcome to Mayo Connect and your first post! I feel the same way that you do as a cancer patient. Will you tell me more about your cancer?

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@gingerw

@fiesty76 I speak only for myself, in this reply. When things slowly evolve, we may not notice the changes without a prolonged view in hindsight. By then, we have adjusted incrementally, often automatically, without much thought. When there is a sudden radical shift required, we often are brought up short by requirements thrust upon us. Some of us "go along" with the plan, some of us rebel. We grieve for things not done, or plans not played out due to the immediate nature of the change. It's normal, it's natural, and it is how we either respond or react that is the telling of our character.
Ginger

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It was not until I recognized (with help) and admitted that what I was feeling during the Covid crisis is indeed grief, and when I began to deal with it, that I began to heal. This healing is an ongoing process – it is definitely not over, as every day brings new challenges.

By that I mean:
I am able to reach out to my family and tell them what I am feeling, and what I need.
I am able to face the physical & mental pain that were beginning to circumscribe my life & take steps to deal with it.
I am able to tell people when I need to step back from daily news, commitments & take care of me.
I am able to let go of anger at people who are not dealing with Covid the same way as I am, realizing that they are in their own place.

Here is what I have gained by processing the grief:
The ability to focus on simple pleasures and positive thoughts – some days spontaneously, other days with mental exercises.
The ability to sleep.
The ability to concentrate on managing my pain, through therapy, exercise & mental attitude.
A sense of peace, a renewed sense of spirituality & my place in the universe.
An renewed commitment to do what I can to make the world a little better place.

Thank you for bringing this topic to the forefront yet again. I never imagined in April that we would still be here in September, still with no certain end in sight.
Sue

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Your long post is insightful and places readers in touch with their feelings, which in turn impels discussion. It takes strength to bear your soul. I believe you have done so in a safe and secure forum. You could change your name to “The Spirit of 76”.

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@gingerw

@fiesty76 I speak only for myself, in this reply. When things slowly evolve, we may not notice the changes without a prolonged view in hindsight. By then, we have adjusted incrementally, often automatically, without much thought. When there is a sudden radical shift required, we often are brought up short by requirements thrust upon us. Some of us "go along" with the plan, some of us rebel. We grieve for things not done, or plans not played out due to the immediate nature of the change. It's normal, it's natural, and it is how we either respond or react that is the telling of our character.
Ginger

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@gingerw. Well put. I've noticed that sometimes i have to take a deep breath because I'm losing patience with someone or something. It's the fact that sometimes I feel I'm losing control over my life. I was talking to a young friend with three children under 6, and it's so hard for her children to understand that they can't go to school and see their friends. They don't want to do their class works and the youngest one just wants to cry and get her attention. She's at wit's end. We're all in the same boat, in various degrees. One day at a time is my mantra right now. Hopefully everyday is a better day than yesterday!

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@mayofeb2020 – I feel so badly for moms and young children who can't possibly understand the ramifications of being around others or social distancing. @sueinmn has had a lot of experience in dealing with a lot of family members with young children. Perhaps she can offer some suggestions?

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@mayofeb2020

@gingerw. Well put. I've noticed that sometimes i have to take a deep breath because I'm losing patience with someone or something. It's the fact that sometimes I feel I'm losing control over my life. I was talking to a young friend with three children under 6, and it's so hard for her children to understand that they can't go to school and see their friends. They don't want to do their class works and the youngest one just wants to cry and get her attention. She's at wit's end. We're all in the same boat, in various degrees. One day at a time is my mantra right now. Hopefully everyday is a better day than yesterday!

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My daughter is fortunate to have her sister and me to assist with 2 little boys part of the time she while works from home, but it is still extremely hard. The 4 year old especially misses friends, going places and going to school. We avoid Covid conversations around the kids except to explain about germs, masks and safety in language they can get.

We try to have a flexible routine to each day – dress, eat, active play, snack, screen or learning time, lunch, quiet or nap, snack, active play, learning or reading, supper, active play, bath, read, cuddle, bed.

Ou best strategies to date are planning tiny adventures – as small as taking a ball and running around the now-unused high school baseball field, or taking a snack and sitting on the curb watching construction workers. On Friday night, weather permitting, they camp in the back yard with Mom and Dad. We play outside for hours in every kind of weather and take walks – activity seems to ease the frustration and whining.

We make a big deal of praising all good behavior, and use comforting, massage and cuddling for frustrated behavior instead of discipline. The boys will now bring each other their favorite "lovey" when they see one another sad or crying. (Real naughtiness still earns a timeout or loss of privilege – hitting, biting,etc.) And we make sure tired children rest and hungry ones eat – our body schedule is not necessarily theirs.

The 4 yo likes to be helpful, but isn't always sure how, so recently we're teaching him how to walk the dog, get him to heel & give the dog praise. Then we brag to Daddy how well he did when Daddy gets home.

My niece has a mix of kids from 1 -13, both home-and-public schooled plus a toddler. She invents bicycle errands for her older ones, and makes sure each boy gets personal time alone each day. She admitted that she has relaxed her schedule, no longer requiring schoolwork to be completed by 2 pm. My nephew was working 4 day weeks until recently, and 2-3 days were spent camping each week, with canoe & bikes. Finally, she has allowed the kids to connect with their friends through approved video games – previously very limited.

We don't call learning tasks school work (oldest is in pre-k) we call it projects, and he sits alongside an adult working on their own project while he does it, so he feels grown up and important. We also explore nature, rocks, plants, bugs, leaves, seeds, footprints… The younger, 19 months spends a lot of time worn on Mom or auntie's back – he's too heavy for me.

Several of my nieces are primary teachers and they say a kindergartener should have about one hour, no more of lessons in a day. Add 15-30 minutes for each grade level. Remember a lot of those 7-8 hours kids are gone are transportation, moving between activities, recess, snack, lunch etc. Attention span, even in most adults, is only about 20 minutes, so we cannot expect a child to sit and work independently for an hour or more.

The hardest thing to remember is that children are mirrors, and will reflect what they see & hear, so we need to be good models.

No doubt this is hard! We need to do everything we can to make it as peaceful as possible for our little people and their parents. If you cannot be with them, maybe you can provide their favorite casserole or a delivery or takeout meal so Mom doesn't have to think about supper.

Sue

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@sueinmn

My daughter is fortunate to have her sister and me to assist with 2 little boys part of the time she while works from home, but it is still extremely hard. The 4 year old especially misses friends, going places and going to school. We avoid Covid conversations around the kids except to explain about germs, masks and safety in language they can get.

We try to have a flexible routine to each day – dress, eat, active play, snack, screen or learning time, lunch, quiet or nap, snack, active play, learning or reading, supper, active play, bath, read, cuddle, bed.

Ou best strategies to date are planning tiny adventures – as small as taking a ball and running around the now-unused high school baseball field, or taking a snack and sitting on the curb watching construction workers. On Friday night, weather permitting, they camp in the back yard with Mom and Dad. We play outside for hours in every kind of weather and take walks – activity seems to ease the frustration and whining.

We make a big deal of praising all good behavior, and use comforting, massage and cuddling for frustrated behavior instead of discipline. The boys will now bring each other their favorite "lovey" when they see one another sad or crying. (Real naughtiness still earns a timeout or loss of privilege – hitting, biting,etc.) And we make sure tired children rest and hungry ones eat – our body schedule is not necessarily theirs.

The 4 yo likes to be helpful, but isn't always sure how, so recently we're teaching him how to walk the dog, get him to heel & give the dog praise. Then we brag to Daddy how well he did when Daddy gets home.

My niece has a mix of kids from 1 -13, both home-and-public schooled plus a toddler. She invents bicycle errands for her older ones, and makes sure each boy gets personal time alone each day. She admitted that she has relaxed her schedule, no longer requiring schoolwork to be completed by 2 pm. My nephew was working 4 day weeks until recently, and 2-3 days were spent camping each week, with canoe & bikes. Finally, she has allowed the kids to connect with their friends through approved video games – previously very limited.

We don't call learning tasks school work (oldest is in pre-k) we call it projects, and he sits alongside an adult working on their own project while he does it, so he feels grown up and important. We also explore nature, rocks, plants, bugs, leaves, seeds, footprints… The younger, 19 months spends a lot of time worn on Mom or auntie's back – he's too heavy for me.

Several of my nieces are primary teachers and they say a kindergartener should have about one hour, no more of lessons in a day. Add 15-30 minutes for each grade level. Remember a lot of those 7-8 hours kids are gone are transportation, moving between activities, recess, snack, lunch etc. Attention span, even in most adults, is only about 20 minutes, so we cannot expect a child to sit and work independently for an hour or more.

The hardest thing to remember is that children are mirrors, and will reflect what they see & hear, so we need to be good models.

No doubt this is hard! We need to do everything we can to make it as peaceful as possible for our little people and their parents. If you cannot be with them, maybe you can provide their favorite casserole or a delivery or takeout meal so Mom doesn't have to think about supper.

Sue

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What a wonderful grandmother you are!

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@sueinmn – Sue, Your grandchildren probably are having the best time of their childhood now! I’m in awe at all the activities, experiences and outings they have. When we were kids we also were playing outside in any weather. It’s right that they should not be burdened with real school work now. Projects sound right. Congratulations to you and your daughters!

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@sueinmn– How did you all come up with these standards? Did you have a family pow-wow? Did you all grow up like this? I want to be a kid again and come live with you.

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@merpreb

@sueinmn– How did you all come up with these standards? Did you have a family pow-wow? Did you all grow up like this? I want to be a kid again and come live with you.

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Merry – mainly my kids get the credit, but the loving vs discipline evolved this summer as it became obvious what worked. Our girls and my son -in-law were free-range kids and they are determined to have that as much as possible for the boys.

Most of our extended family are in service of others, either by occupation or as volunteers, so why and how we do things is often a topic for us. One ot the hardest things now is how we are unable to get together so we chat one on one

As one of my busy nieces pointed out in May, this enforced time-out gave us all time to evaluate our priorities.

Snack time stay positive today everyone.
Sue

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@cco50

thank you for posting. I think that unsettled feeling of grief has evolved over the last 6 months as I realize this is a new way of life for me. Especially with so many not following precautions now and gathering in the old way. I don't feel I can do that as cancer patient that has had respiratory issues from mets. It is a dull ache that is hard to define, almost like homesickness for what was, but knowing this is my new reality.. I am trying to work outside in my yard as much as possible, just getting outside helps. and connecting socially when I can, outside with physical distancing. I think prayer/meditation is something I need to work on as well.

Fiesty76, thank you for sharing the article. I look forward to reading it. It helps to know "we"(patients) are in this together. Have a lovely Labor day.

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Hi, @cco50, Thank you and I like how you describe these feelings now almost like "homesickness for what was". Beautifully descriptive and yes, we are all in this together and by supporting one another and by sharing, we can find ways to make the difficult days easier.

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