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Lockdown Special Days

Coping with Special Days 

Many things have had to go on hold since the outbreak of Covid-19. Routines have ground to a halt, trips and holidays have been cancelled and face-to-face socialising with anyone outside of your household is a no-go. These isolated times can make grief feel lonelier and heavier than ever and ‘special days’ harder to cope with.

Special days that may be affected by the Covid outbreak can include:

  • The day of their funeral
  • Birthdays (Yours, theirs, other family member’s)
  • Anniversaries (both of life events such as marriage, and of the death)
  • “Firsts” (The first birthday without them, the first spring without them
  • Bank holidays
  • Religious holidays

Special days are often difficult to those of us that are grieving, but the safety regulations that are now in place mean we can’t mark the days in the way that we would like to, or may have done so in previous years.

It might be that you are very recently bereaved and were unable to hold the funeral service you wanted for your loved one because of the closure of churches and other safety measures that are in place. Perhaps you could not attend the funeral at all due to strict limits on the number of permitted mourners.

Maybe you are a couple of years down the line since your loss and you’ve formed something of a tradition in the way you mark the day, such as going out for a meal with other people that are missing the person or visiting the grave or a place that was special to them.

The social isolating regulations may mean that you also don’t have the usual support around you in the same way.

Marking a special day whilst in quarantine can raise feelings of:

  • Sadness
  • Longing for the person
  • Guilt that you either cannot be at the funeral or mark the special day in the manner you had hoped, even though it is outside of your control
  • Irritability
  • Jealousy at other people who have their loved ones still, particularly if you lived with the person that died, perhaps meaning you are now forced to isolate alone or at least with constant reminders that the person is not there
  • Loneliness, often we spend the day with friends or family for support, it can feel lonely not being able to see people that mean the most to us

People also commonly experience physical changes around that time such as:

  • Changes in appetite (Either not wanting to eat or finding themselves comfort eating)
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (Not being able to fall asleep or sleeping a lot more)
  • Repeating thoughts or memories of that person
  • Disinterest in activities that usually give them pleasure

Here are some ways to help cope with your special days whilst in quarantine:

  • Plan how you are going to mark the day, do you want to light a candle in their memory? Would a videocall with the people you would have spent the day with help?
  • Include the person in your thoughts, you will most likely be thinking about them anyway on some level, allow yourself to think about them, of both the good and the difficult times.
  • Remember that it is perfectly okay to laugh, just as it is perfectly okay to cry, allow yourself to express your true feelings.
  • Find an outlet for your emotions such as journaling or a creative hobby.
  • Know that it is okay to mark the day differently this year.
  • Remember to take care of yourself physically, getting enough sleep, gentle exercise and maintaining a fairly balanced diet will all help you to feel more able to cope.
  • Do what feels right for you as much as possible, don’t let anyone tell you the right way to do things, listen to your own thoughts and feelings and go with what they want as much as possible.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Grief is hard work, it leaves you drained emotionally and physically. Be gentle with yourself and try not to push yourself too much.