That Feeling You're Experiencing...It's Grief
These tip sheets were created to be shared with your communities: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and families. You may learn more and access additional resources at lsu.edu/bestpractices.
For all of you high school seniors, and really all teens and young adults, the current situation is beyond disappointing. The last weeks of the school year, especially senior year, should be jam packed with so many events for which you have anxiously awaited. You may even feel like you are in a state of mourning right now for all the plans you thought were locked into place and memories you were looking forward to making. When your world feels upside down, how do you hang in there, handle grief, and let those around you reach in to provide a hand? What can you do to help yourself feel better?
Grief can come in all shapes and packages, there is no one size fits all. Grief can create feelings of numbness, sadness, anger, and many others. Grief can cause us to be more forgetful and can affect our sleeping. Though grief is a natural part of life, the current situation feels like anything but natural to most of us. Some of us grieve for a short while, while for others it is a longer process (SAMSA, 2008). The good news is these feelings of grief should pass (SAMSA, 2008).
Coping with grief and disappointment can get you on the road to feeling more like yourself. Goodtherapy (2019) has the following restorative activities:
When adapting to your new role, find ways to change and to make the changes fun. Are you now the caregiver for younger siblings? Perhaps this role will give you time to teach them a favorite recipe or make a memorable art show. When adjusting to online learning, how is this making you ready for your future career or education? How can you use this opportunity to teach your teacher your tech savvy skills?
You will find many changes in your new daily routine. A calendar can be a great asset to manage these changes. Having the materials you need for distance learning will also help. Plan ahead so that new deadlines and types of assignments don’t overwhelm you. If it feels like too much, just breathe.
It is extremely important to find new ways to connect with your family and friends. You are now spending 24/7 with you immediate family. Use this time to build those relationships in a positive way. Play games, take walks, cook, and laugh together. In this new way, of living we are looking for ways we can be close, even when physically apart. Find unique ways to virtually spend time with those who don’t live in your house, especially those friends you are missing. Utilize apps and programs that allow you to both see and hear those you love individually and in groups.
Currently, we are all working to create new ways of living. From a school prospective, your teachers and administrators are thinking outside of the box when it comes to prom, graduation, and many other events unique to your school that are tied to this special season. This current situation is unprecedented and ever changing, thus it takes time to get plans in order. Please be patient.
If you have added free time, use this period to rest, exercise, maybe even plan your postsecondary future. Be ready for all that life has to offer!
We are resilient! Let’s do our best and have HOPE!
H - Have a way to find the positives, even in disappointments
O - Outwardly look for new opportunities
P - Practice patience and perseverance in the midst of change
E - Exercise regularly to reduce stress and anxiety, and to spend time with yourself
Written by: Kristy Gremillion, counselor grades 10-12 | LSU University Laboratory School
Good Therapy. (2019, November 5). Grief, Loss, and Bereavement. Retrieved April 5, 2020, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/grief.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration Center for Mental Health Services. (2008). Retrieved April 5, 2020, from https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo12616/anxiety_grief.pdf.
Stroebe Schult Dual Process Model of Bereavement