Posts tagged “How to help bereaved loved ones”

Lockdown has given many people the time to spring clean their wardrobes and now that shops have reopened, charity shops are reaping the rewards. But how many of you have spent the time working on yourself and clearing out unwanted pain and feelings of loss? 
 
Coming to terms with Lockdown and all the unusual elements that have accompanied it is not something we’re used to. We are a nation of grievers due to the losses we’ve experienced this year. You may have lost a loved one or a friend to COVID-19 and not been able to say goodbye, you may have lost your ‘normal’, you may have lost the routine of going to work, been furloughed, or made redundant. You may have had a loss of health, a loss of financial security, a loss of hopes and dreams if your special birthday or wedding got cancelled. We’re all grieving our losses. 
Spring cleaning
Over the past few months, we have all witnessed pictures in the news and on tv documentaries of people in their hospital beds on ventilators, intubated, with some of them about to lose their lives. It’s an image that will probably never leave when we think back on this pandemic in the future. 
 
If your relative or friend died from COVID-19, our hearts go out to you for what you have been through. One of the most painful of experiences when you’re grieving is having a disturbing image of your loved one’s final hours, days, or weeks etched on your mind that you keep flashing back to. You may have seen your relative in hospital or had a video call with them from their hospital bed. Your last image may have been seeing them in the back of an ambulance with an oxygen mask on. Your mind may have made up its own image if you weren’t able to see them. 
Painful image of loved one in hospital bed
As employees start to return to work, now is a good time to start planning how your business is going to support those who have been bereaved during Lockdown. 
 
Identifying employees who have been bereaved can be ascertained by line managers during catch-up calls, or via a simple email survey. This is important, as you may not have a clear indication of those who have lost friends and family members outside of immediate family. For immediate family losses, we have guidelines for writing sympathy letters here. 
Grief in the workplace
Teachers need each other. This isn’t a time for working in isolation. Collaboration and friendship are vital in keeping teachers sane and happy, especially when everyone starts returning to work after Lockdown. You may not know what your colleagues have been through over the past few months. They may have been directly affected by COVID-19, they may have lost a close relative or friend, they may have been juggling home schooling their own children alongside their own workload and have now had to persuade their own children that it’s safe enough to go back to school. 
Going back to the classroom after lockdown
As Lockdown starts to ease, you may find that everything you felt at the start of Lockdown makes a return. We know that what is coming is going to be different to what we’ve become used to. We’ve all been experiencing the loss of our lives, routines, work, family, friends, freedom and have been getting used to our ‘new normal.’ Now our ‘new normal’ is changing again. 
 
Many of us have had weeks of being at home with a sense of safety from staying within our four walls. You may well start to experience a huge fear factor of going out; fear of the unknown, fear of catching the virus, fear of others, and fear of the loss of control. Coming to terms with this is going to take some getting used to. 
Children will fall behind because of lockdown
As the planned reopening of schools is being outlined by the Prime Minster, how are you feeling? We are hearing about lots of teachers feeling angry about the potential loss of their own safety and the safety of the children in their care. There seems to be a loss of faith in the government and the Department for Education. 
 
While many teachers have provided an essential service for Key Workers’ children and the most vulnerable, putting themselves and their families at risk since lockdown, the school environment has been carefully managed. Allowing whole classes back into school provides a host of new problems, especially given the ages of Reception and Year 1 pupils, such as ensuring social distancing, crowded lunch halls, children hugging each other, or young children falling over and needing care. How is the government going to put measures in place for these incidences and make sure your school is COVID Secure? 
The third step on our 5-point plan for living through lockdown is being emotionally honest. (Take a look at Step 1: Acknowledge everything and Step 2: Be present if you missed them.) 
 
A quote used in the Grief Recovery Training is “Love is the product of truthful communication,” and whether we’re talking romantic love or any relationship, when we’re emotionally honest everything works better. For example, “I have a lot to do, I would really appreciate you taking the rubbish out,” is less likely to cause an argument than “Why do you never take the rubbish out?” 
 
The first is what you’re feeling is on the matter, the latter is a criticism. If you try to stick to what’s true for you and express it, you are more likely to be heard
‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, which is why it’s called the present.’ 
We all spend so much of our lives time travelling, we barely notice it. Travelling into the past with our thoughts to find things to beat ourselves up with, then projecting ourselves into the future to worry, creating stress, anxiety and pain, much of which could be avoided if we simply stayed in the present
 
In fact, it's so important that we've included it on our 5-point plan for living through lockdown. (If you missed Step 1, Acknowledge everything, click here.) 
Today we’re starting the journey of taking you through our Living Through Lockdown 5-Point Plan, starting with Acknowledge Everything. Has your standard response to ‘how are you feeling’ become ‘I’m fine’ when people ask, but underneath you’re thinking, ‘I’m anything but fine’? The likelihood is that you’re going through a whole raft of emotions right now, which change throughout the course of the day. There will be good days and bad days. 
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