February 01, 2021

Coronavirus grief

Coping with loss

You may think of grief as the emotion that follows the death of a loved one. But you can feel grief in many circumstances, such as the loss of a job, the death of a pet, a romantic breakup or divorce, a theft, or the loss of independence or ability.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.S., and it's brought many other losses as well. It's disrupted daily routines and affected where people work, the way kids go to school, and how people gather, eat, exercise, worship and celebrate.

In all, the pandemic has had a major psychological impact, causing people to lose their sense of safety, predictability, security and control. During this time, many people will feel grief.

How grief feels

There are many normal, common responses to a loss. Signs and symptoms of grief may include:

Physical symptoms

  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling restless
  • Headaches or stomach issues
  • Changes in appetite

Mental symptoms

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty making decisions, even small decisions
  • Problems with your memory
  • Worry, rumination

Emotional symptoms

  • Fear, guilt, anger or anxiety
  • Numbness
  • Feeling depressed, helpless or hopeless
  • Feeling alone or isolated

Spiritual symptoms