Recognize and Validate Grief

Posted by Sheryl Williams on 5/13/2020

Everyone around us is experiencing some form of loss right now. The many different and difficult emotions you are feeling sucha s sadness, disappointment,anger, guilt, frustration and loneliness,are normal emotions to abnormal times. We are grieving and our children are grieving. 

It is important to recognize and name the emotions that we are all feeling right now. Check in with yourself and your children. Recognize the humanity around you. We are all in this together...everyone is having the same experiences, thoughts and feelings as you. We continue to face uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty, our brains are designed to protect us from danger by increasing our awareness to risk and threats. When you find yourself or your children overwehelmed by strong emotions try to refocus your attention what is going on in and around you in the current moment. Notice that each feeling/emotion that you have is temporary. Focus on accepting your feelings and your strength to get through them. Take one moment at a time, focus on your 5 senses to ground you in the present. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things that you can hear, 3 things that you can touch, 2 things that you can smell and 1 thing you can taste(if you have food around you). This will bring you back to the present moment. In school, I use these grounding techniques with students in the classrooms to help them focus on the here and now.

Remember separate out what you can control and what you cannot control.  Things you can control are:

How you cope

How you treat others

What you eat and drink

Steps you take to stay healthy

Time you spend worrying

Amount of news you consume

Finding peace with what you can and cannot control: worry often  focuses our attention on the future, an unknown outcome. One way to manage these worries is to focus on one worry at a time. Can you control what you are worried about? If it is something you can control, make a plan or take action. If it is something you cannot control, use coping skills to help you manage the worries. Use your toolbox of coping skills, get outside, exercise, meditate, listen to music, be creative, art, bake, cook, reach out to talk to someone, distractions, books, movies, tv. What ever works for you and your family.