• Amanda Barry

Goodbye to all that – how to survive when everything changes

Updated: Mar 24

For a split second every morning when I wake up, I have forgotten. Life is normal and another day is beginning. Then I remember. Life is not normal, and everything has changed. The impact of the Corona Virus pandemic has been so sudden and so drastic, it’s like my old life – for now - has died.

And I realise I recognise the feelings I’m feeling. It’s grief. Grief for the loss of what was and what was about to be. In such a very short time, many of the things I was looking forward to are no longer currently possible. We’re all having to let go of plans that were important to us – holidays, family gatherings, celebrations, work events. Calendars that were once full are now empty.

Losing what is familiar is a shock to the system, but there is a way to help soothe the impact so we can begin the process of getting our equilibrium back. The secret is to allow ourselves to actually feel what it is we are feeling in the moment as hard as that may be. It's natural to want to deflect or push away the discomfort or pain, but if we can allow what is, it's power begins to decrease and we can start to move on.

When I lost my mother and after the breakup of my marriage, I found comfort in the concept psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross described as the Five Stages of Grief – known as: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. The stages are not linear, you may not experience them all and some last longer than others. We all grieve in our own way so whatever comes up for you is just how it is.

If any of this resonates with you, try these three things:

Allow your feelings: Dog walking on my own for me is a great time to let the tears flow, or shout at the sky. Bottling everything up is exhausting. So during these locked-down days give yourself a break and if you feel it is safe to do so - either on the one daily walk allowed, in the garden or a locked bathroom, let those feelings out.

Keep connecting - virtually: The amazing technology we have at our fingertips is really coming into its own right now, allowing us to maintain contact and support each other. Group video calls, online community support groups, singing sessions, even online parties – whatever helps, do it.

Get Support: As a coach, I know what value it brings and see how my clients benefit from having someone totally in their corner. My own coach Phil helped me keep my eyes on the horizon and moving towards the future I wanted, even when my world was falling apart. Or if the current situation is bringing up old unresolved issues for you, consider a therapist.

And above all, let’s remember as we navigate our way through the days and weeks ahead:

This Too Shall Pass.

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