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Three strategies for coping with grief during COVID-19

In the age of COVID-19, it can often feel as though everyone — on some level — is coping with loss. Whether you have lost a loved one to the virus or to an unrelated cause, COVID-19 has not only changed our daily lives but also our grieving processes.

“The past 18 months have changed our entire world and have been difficult for so many people,” says Lyndall Propst, chaplain for Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia. “To prevent the spread of this highly contagious and dangerous illness, we have had to adapt and restrict our traditional grieving processes when a loved one has passed: often foregoing a public service or limiting the number of mourners in attendance.”

Coping with grief can be overwhelming in any circumstance, but grieving in the midst of a pandemic — one that involves social isolation from loved ones and a great deal of uncertainty — has only amplified those feelings. Grief can take different shapes for each individual. However, some steps you can take to manage your loss in a safe way include:

  • Give yourself permission to grieve and recognize your loss. While accepting loss is never easy, you can take small steps to remember your loved one’s life: participating in socially distanced or virtual memorial services, making photo albums or writing a tribute that honors their life.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Grieving is a complex process with many stages. Wherever you are in your journey, remember to be kind to yourself and recognize that everyone processes their emotions in different ways. As you grieve, establish a daily routine that prioritizes self-care, which will help to provide structure while also taking care of your body and mind.
  • Connect with others and don’t be afraid to ask for help. While in-person gatherings may be limited, stay connected with your loved ones for support by participating in regular Zoom calls, writing letters to family or friends and/or seeking out grief counseling, support groups or hotlines.

“Everyone copes with grief in different ways, but the important thing is to remember that you are never alone,” Propst says.

For those in need of spiritual or emotional support, Propst can be reached at 931.540.4243. Additional information about managing grief during these unprecedented times is available at CDC.gov as well as Grief.com and WhatsYourGrief.com.


Lyndall Propst provides spiritual support for Maury Regional Health patients, families, caregivers, physicians and all support staff. He can be reached at 931.540.4243.