It's okay to grieve

girl with brown hair looks stressed and a little sad

Change is happening fast in every part of your life, and things are likely not playing out the way you expected when the school year, or even the semester, began. This divergence from your plan and all of these changes can cause an emotional reaction that’s hard to wrap your head around. So if you’re feeling something deep and overwhelming right now, it’s okay, and if you want to put a name to it, it’s likely grief.

Grief is something many of us are experiencing right now in a wide variety of ways. It’s normal to feel sad, stressed or emotional. David Kessler, an author and expert in grieving, discussed this feeling on the podcast Unlocking Us with Brene Brown, saying that “we’re all dealing with the collective loss of the world we knew.” You may feel a sense of loss when it comes to things like your daily routine, hanging out with friends, going to class, attending religious services, or even the loss of control you had before being told to stay at home and moving to remote classes. It’s important to recognize that each of these losses is valid and legitimate.

Be open with yourself about your feelings, and find a way to let these emotions out. Try starting a journal, talking to a friend or family member, or reaching out to your virtual community for support. 

Your grief matters

It's important to remember that even if your grief doesn’t look as big or as obvious as someone else’s, it is still legitimate. Your grief matters because it’s yours. There is no comparison when it comes to grieving, so give yourself permission to feel your feelings and to grieve your personal losses in your own way. 

Remind yourself that it’s okay to have the feelings you're having, and that even while you’re going through this, you can continue to feel for others and have compassion for your family, friends and community. 

Coping the right way

It is absolutely critical that your coping mechanisms remain healthy and productive. Do not choose to emotionally isolate or turn to substances to manage hard feelings. Focus instead on getting enough sleep, reaching out to others or contacting a professional if you need support. Mental health counselors are available 24/7 through ASU Counseling Services. Help is available.

As we continue to move through the new normal, remind yourself to check in on your grief regularly. Address it, feel it, and if you’re up to it, talk about it with others. We’re here if you need someone to talk to, and we can help you connect to someone who can help you deal with anything you can’t handle. Send us an email at asuadulting101@asu.edu to let us know how you’re handling the new normal. We’d love to hear from you.


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