Stress in Lockdown – tackling the 7 stages of Grief

As well as increased stress levels, we are all likely experiencing at least one of the seven stages of grief right now, new research has revealed.

Tide collaborated with Kiz Crosbie, CEO of Mortal Fools, to discuss how the coronavirus lockdown is affecting us, the seven stages of grief that we are likely experiencing, and actionable techniques for how we can teach our bodies to be less reactive to stress.

Kiz Crosbie, small business owner, theatre director and trainer, commented:

“The coronavirus outbreak has created new stressful situations we never imagined we’d encounter, and, whether professionally or personally, we are all suffering from grief related to loss right now. To function at our best, we have to allow ourselves to experience the natural emotions associated with grief, before we can begin to process them.

“Recognising the different stages of grief gives cognitive control, which can help you process what you are going through. We can’t expect to progress through our experience of loss in a linear way, and only once the ‘new normal’ eventually establishes itself, we’ll all be able to arrive at the final stage”.

The 7 stages of grief include:

Shock

During this stage, the reality of what is going on hits us.  If you are in this stage, allow yourself to experience your feelings

Denial

During this stage, we will try to avoid the inevitable situation – we may also start to lose hope, or feel demotivated.  If you are in this stage, try to fully understand the situation at hand

Anger

During this stage, we will feel emotions related to anger.   If you are in this stage, try to process the anger you are feeling (e.g. by ranting about your feelings, through physical exercise, etc.) – the quicker you allow yourself to feel the emotions, the quicker it will dissipate

Bargaining

During this stage, we will be trying to find a way out (this stage has links back to denial).  If you are in this stage, try to better understand the situation at hand

Depression

During this stage, we will feel overwhelmingly sad or depressed.  If you are in this stage, try to keep proactive and optimistic, while focusing on the positive aspects of the change and actioning good self-care

Testing

During this stage, we will proactively find solutions to problems we find ourselves in.  If you are in this stage, try to be proactive in your thinking

Acceptance

Once the ‘new normal’ eventually establishes itself, we’ll all be able to arrive at the final stage of acceptance

Kiz continued:

“The world is changing around us. Our bodies are designed to keep us safe, so we are on heightened alert in the current circumstances. When we are in a state of fear, or a circumstance with no control, our bodies have a natural fear response which may manifest itself in a pounding heart, sweating, stuttered speech, or not being able to think straight.

“By using techniques to train your body to go through a fear experience, your body will become less reactive to other stressful situations. Ultimately, you are teaching your body how to keep calm, and better use the adrenaline from the ‘fight or flight’ response.

“When faced with something you are scared of, it is important to prepare yourself and anticipate it. Then give your body time to adjust and become conscious of what you are feeling. As the panic feeling starts to go away, you will become more aware of your body. In these situations, the senses become highly heightened… Try not to think about anything else, except how your body is feeling – become acutely aware of this, tune into those feelings and look after yourself. Soon your body will settle down, and once you get over the fear response then you can begin to enjoy yourself.

“By coaxing the cognitive part of the brain to take control over fear centres using logic, reasoning and processing, the fear responses will slowly adjust, helping you to calm down and regulate your body. After a fear experience, endorphins will kick in, further helping to train yourself to push through the stressful experience”.

Sarah Young, VP of Member Engagement at Tide, added:

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way of life for all of us, both personally and professionally. For example, whether it be reduced or zero sales, spoiled stock, cancelled contracts, or a complete loss of their livelihood, many small business owners have experienced loss in the coronavirus lockdown.

“As well as working through various stages of grief (that we may not even be aware of), many of us will also be experiencing increased levels of stress. To function at our best, it is important to be able to recognise the different stages of grief, and how we can move through them. Ultimately, until the ‘new normal’ eventually establishes itself, we cannot arrive at the final stage of acceptance, so patience is also needed.

“Being aware of how stress can manifest itself is also important. By using techniques to train your body to go through a fear experience in a controlled environment, your body will become less reactive to other stressful situations”.

For more information, visit: https://www.tide.co/blog/coronavirus/how-to-handle-grief-in-lockdown/