Living Through Lockdown: grieving the loss of hopes and expectations

Have you noticed that you and the people around you are experiencing losses as a result of the current situation? As an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist, Coach and someone who has experienced loss, I know that grief is normal and natural and clearly the most powerful emotion of all emotions.

It is also sadly the most neglected and misunderstood experience, often by both the griever and those around them. Despite the universality of the experience of loss, people know very little about recovery from it. Let’s break the taboo of grief and learn some effective ways to recover from it!

Did you know that there are over 40 different types of losses that we can experience, from the tangible e.g death to intangible such as loss of confidence or trust. Any loss of hopes and expectations, we experience as grief. All grief is unique, as we as humans are unique. Therefore, the feelings you are having right now are normal and natural for you.

Grief is defined as “the conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in a familiar pattern of behaviour”. Here are some examples of things that can trigger grief:

  • Changing jobs
  • Ill health
  • Redundancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Divorce

One of the common issues in careers is that our hopes, dreams and expectations of what could happen in our work life, don’t always come true. Many people have ‘squiggly’ careers. When you transition to a new role you often feel stripped of the knowledge and confidence that you had in a previous role and initially you grieve the familiarity of the old.

There are many unhelpful thoughts & opinions around grief. Which of these do you recognise?

  1. Don’t feel bad
  2. Replace the loss
  3. Be strong
  4. Keep busy
  5. Time will heal
  6. Grieve alone

The trap of these is that we believe we are defective, because we are not healing within time as we should.

Many grievers experience common responses to grief:

  • Reduced concentration – a preoccupation with the emotions of loss and an inability to concentrate seem to be universal responses to grief.
  • A sense of numbness – 1st reaction after notification of a loss. It may be physical, emotional or both. It is often mislabelled as denial. It rarely lasts more than several hours.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns – too much or too little.
  • Changed eating habits – no appetite or eat non-stop.
  • Roller coaster of emotional energy – go up and down and in and out of feelings. Often feel drained as a result.

Grieving people often engage excessively in activities to distract themselves from the pain. These are called short term energy releasing activities. It’s the difference between engaging in a passion in a healthy way or engaging in it as a distraction as an unhealthy way to ‘cope’:

  • Food
  • Alcohol/drugs
  • Anger
  • Exercise
  • Work
  • Sex
  • Shopping

Ultimately grief is an accumulation of undelivered communications that have emotional value to you. For examples things we wish we had ended differently, better or more. How does the Grief Recovery Method help? It is a facilitated educational programme. Key elements that you can read about in the book (available through the GRM website link below) include a loss history graph, a relationship graph and a letter.

It is important to remember that many of our relationships with living people may be incomplete. Completion allows you to return to a full range of emotions and move forward positively in your life. If you would like more information about The Grief Recovery Method you can contact Jo Wheatley via her website or visit The facilitated Grief Recovery Method Programme begins with a free initial consultation and is a minimum of 7 weekly sessions after that.

Do come along to the The Coaching Crowd group which is a free and closed Facebook group with coaching tips and techniques that might be helpful at this time.


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