Coping with Grief during the Pandemic: Tips and Tricks

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to face unprecedented challenges and losses. Many have experienced the grief of losing loved ones, the loss of normalcy, and significant life changes. Coping with grief during these difficult times can be especially overwhelming. 

In this article, we will explore effective strategies for managing grief and finding ways to navigate through the pandemic with resilience and strength.

Coping with bereavement and grief during the pandemic
Grief during the pandemic can be overwhelming
Understanding the grieving process is important
Self-care and seeking support are essential
Finding healthy outlets for emotional expression
Recognizing and addressing grief triggers
Incorporating rituals can aid in healing
Professional help may be beneficial
Embracing resilience and finding meaning in loss
Patience and compassion are key
Personal growth can arise from the grieving process

Understanding Grief

The Grieving Process

Grief is a natural response to loss, and it manifests differently for everyone. Understanding the grieving process can help us make sense of our emotions and find ways to cope. The process typically includes stages such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

However, it’s important to note that grief doesn’t follow a linear path and can vary in duration and intensity.

Common Symptoms

Grief can bring about a range of emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms. Some common emotional symptoms include sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. 

Physical symptoms may include fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disruptions, and a weakened immune system. Cognitive symptoms often involve difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and persistent thoughts of the deceased or the loss.

Factors Influencing Grief

Grief 2

Several factors can influence the grieving process, including the relationship with the deceased, the circumstances of the loss, the individual’s support system, and cultural background. It’s essential to acknowledge and respect the unique experiences of each person’s grief journey.

Finding strength in community is essential when coping with grief. Building a strong support system can provide comfort and understanding during challenging times, including the pandemic.

Coping Mechanisms

Finding healthy coping mechanisms can be instrumental in processing grief. Here are some strategies to consider:


Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being is crucial during times of grief. Engage in activities that bring you joy and provide a sense of relief. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and getting enough sleep can help alleviate some of the distress associated with grief.

Seeking Support

Seeking support from others who understand and empathize with your experience can be immensely beneficial. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups. Sharing your feelings and thoughts can help you feel less alone and provide a space for healing.

Emotional Expression

Finding ways to express your emotions can be cathartic. Write in a journal, engage in creative outlets such as painting or playing music, or talk to a trusted friend or therapist. Don’t be afraid to let your feelings out and allow yourself to grieve.

Finding Meaning

Exploring ways to find meaning in the midst of grief can provide a sense of purpose and hope. Engage in activities that honor the memory of the person you’ve lost, such as volunteering, starting a charity project, or participating in a cause important to them. This can help create a sense of connection and contribute to the healing process.

Managing Grief Triggers

Grief triggers are external stimuli that evoke painful memories and emotions associated with loss. During the pandemic, managing grief triggers may require additional awareness and strategies. Here are some common triggers and how to cope with them:

During times of grief, a reliable support system can be a lifeline. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can help individuals find solace and healing during the pandemic.

Social Media and News

Constant exposure to news and social media can amplify feelings of grief and sadness. Limit your media consumption and create boundaries to protect your emotional well-being. Consider unfollowing or muting accounts that consistently share triggering content. Instead, engage with positive and uplifting content that promotes healing and resilience.

TriggerCoping Strategy
Social mediaReduce screen time, unfollow triggering accounts, engage with positive content, seek supportive online communities
NewsLimit exposure to news, choose reliable sources, set designated times to catch up on information, balance news consumption with other activities

Anniversaries and Special Dates

Anniversaries, birthdays, and other special dates can be particularly challenging for those grieving. Create new rituals or traditions to honor your loved one’s memory and celebrate their life. These rituals can provide comfort and a sense of connection even when physical presence is not possible.

TriggerCoping Strategy
AnniversariesCreate new rituals to honor their memory, reach out to others for support, engage in activities that bring joy, spend time reflecting on positive memories
BirthdaysCelebrate their life by doing something meaningful, share memories and stories, engage in activities they enjoyed

Symbolic Reminders

Objects, places, or events that hold sentimental value can trigger intense waves of grief. It may be helpful to find ways to gradually reintegrate these reminders into your life. Consider creating a space or memorial dedicated to the memory of your loved one, where you can reflect and find solace.

TriggerCoping Strategy
Symbolic remindersGradually re-integrate reminders into your life, create a designated space for reflection, participate or organize events that honor their memory

Shared Spaces

Shared spaces such as homes, workplaces, or community locations can become sources of grief. It can be helpful to rearrange or redecorate these spaces to create a new environment that feels comforting and supportive. Adding personal touches or engaging in decluttering rituals can help make these spaces feel more manageable.

Supporting a child through grief requires sensitivity and patience. Check out these 15 tips to help your child navigate the complex emotions brought on by the pandemic.

TriggerCoping Strategy
Shared spacesRearrange or redecorate to create a new environment, add personal touches or mementos, engage in decluttering rituals to create more manageable spaces

The Power of Rituals

Rituals can play a significant role in the grieving process, providing structure and comfort. Here are some ways to incorporate rituals into your journey of grief:

Creating Personal Rituals

Personal rituals can help you honor your emotions and connect with your loved one’s memory. This can include daily or weekly practices such as lighting a candle, writing a letter to them, or setting aside a specific time for reflection. These rituals can provide a sense of continuity and facilitate healing.

Traditional and Cultural Practices

Grief 3

Exploring traditional or cultural practices can offer a sense of belonging and support. It can be helpful to research and understand rituals that are relevant to your background. These practices often incorporate community support and can provide a sense of connection during times of grief.

RitualCultural Significance
Dia de los MuertosLatin American tradition honoring deceased loved ones with altars, marigolds, sugar skulls, and special foods
Qing Ming FestivalChinese tradition paying respect to ancestors through tomb sweeping, offering food and other items at gravesites
ObonJapanese Buddhist festival honoring deceased ancestors with lanterns, dance performances, and visits to gravesites

Virtual Memorials

With the limitations on physical gatherings during the pandemic, virtual memorials have become an essential way to commemorate and celebrate the lives of loved ones. 

Online platforms and video calls can facilitate collective remembrance, storytelling, and sharing of memories. These virtual memorials offer solace and a sense of community during times of grief.

Dealing with Ambiguous Loss

Ambiguous loss refers to a type of grief that arises when there is no clear closure or resolution associated with the loss. It can occur in situations such as missing persons, relationship breakups, or in the case of the pandemic, when loved ones are physically present but emotionally distant due to health restrictions. Here are some insights into managing ambiguous loss:

Disenfranchised Grief

Disenfranchised grief occurs when society does not recognize or validate one’s grief, often due to the nature of the loss or societal norms. It is important to acknowledge and validate your own grief, even if others may not understand or empathize with your experience. Seek support from understanding individuals who can provide a safe space for open dialogue and validation.

Grieving in the workplace can be overwhelming, especially during the pandemic. This practical guide offers strategies to maintain professionalism and productivity while processing loss

Ambiguous Loss in the Pandemic

Many individuals have experienced ambiguous loss during the pandemic. The inability to physically be with loved ones, cancelled plans and milestones, and the overall uncertainty of the situation can create feelings of grief and loss. It is important to practice self-compassion and acknowledge that it is natural to feel a sense of loss even if it may not fit the traditional definition of grief.

Ambiguous LossCoping Strategy
Missing personsEngage in open communication with support groups, seek counseling, utilize resources for finding missing persons
Relationship breakupsSeek professional help if needed, engage in self-reflection and self-care, build a support network, allow for a grieving process
Emotional distancePractice open communication and express emotions, find alternate ways to maintain emotional connection such as virtual interactions

Supporting Others in Grief

Supporting someone who is grieving requires empathy, compassion, and active listening. Here are some ways to provide effective support:

Empathy and Active Listening

Truly being present for someone who is grieving involves empathetic listening without judgment. Give them the space to express their emotions, and validate their feelings. Avoid offering unsolicited advice or trying to “fix” their grief; instead, focus on providing comfort and support through understanding and compassionate listening.

Providing Practical Support

Practical support can make a significant difference in someone’s grieving process. Offer concrete assistance such as running errands, helping with household tasks, or providing meals. These acts of kindness can alleviate some of the burdens and allow the bereaved individual to focus on their healing.

Practical SupportHow to Help
ErrandsOffer to run errands such as grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, or dropping off packages
Household tasksHelp with house cleaning, laundry, or other chores that may feel overwhelming during the grieving process
MealsPrepare or provide ready-made meals to alleviate the stress of cooking, or organize a meal train within the community

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

When supporting someone in grief, it’s important to be mindful of common pitfalls that may unintentionally invalidate their experience. Avoid making comparisons or minimizing their pain. Instead, focus on creating a safe space for them to express themselves. Be patient and understanding as grief takes time and varies from person to person.

Seeking Professional Help

In some cases, seeking professional help can be instrumental in navigating the complexities of grief. Here are some options to consider:

Therapeutic Support

Therapy can offer valuable guidance and support during the grieving process. Grief counseling or therapy can provide a safe and confidential space to explore your emotions, develop coping strategies, and find meaning in your loss. Therapists trained in grief and loss can help facilitate healing and assist in creating a path forward.

Finding joy and purpose amid loss is possible. Explore strategies to discover new meaning in life after loss with this helpful resource during the challenging times of the pandemic.

Online Counseling Resources

Online counseling platforms have become increasingly popular, providing accessible mental health support. Many therapists offer virtual sessions, allowing individuals to receive counseling from the comfort of their own homes. These platforms often provide a wide range of specialized therapists, including those trained in grief counseling.

Online Counseling Platforms
7 Cups

Adjusting to a New Normal

Grief changes us, and adjusting to a new normal after experiencing loss can be challenging. Here are some strategies to help you navigate through the transformation:

Recognizing the Transformation

Grief often reshapes our perspectives, priorities, and sense of self. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the changes that occur during the grieving process. Allow yourself the space and time to adapt to the new reality and grant yourself permission to grow and evolve.

Finding Meaning in Loss

While it may seem difficult to fathom during times of grief, finding meaning in loss can contribute to the healing process. This can involve exploring personal growth, deepening connections with others, or discovering new passions and interests. Embracing the lessons learned through grief can help us find purpose and resilience.

Embracing Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back and adapt in the face of adversity. Cultivating resilience can aid in processing grief and moving forward. Engage in activities that support your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Seek out support systems, practice self-care, and foster a positive mindset that allows for growth and healing.


Coping with grief during the pandemic can be an overwhelming experience, but it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Understanding the grieving process, practicing self-care, seeking support, and finding healthy outlets for emotional expression are crucial in managing grief. Additionally, recognizing and addressing grief triggers, incorporating rituals, and seeking professional help when needed can contribute to the healing process.

It is important to be patient and compassionate with yourself and others as you navigate through the challenges of grief. Remember that grief is a personal and unique journey, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Allow yourself the space and time to heal, and embrace the transformation that comes with grief.

By implementing these strategies and finding meaning in loss, you can find strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose even in the midst of grief. Remember to reach out for support when needed, and embrace the love and memories of those you have lost as you continue on your path of healing.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that provide valuable insights and guidance on coping with grief during the pandemic:

How to Cope with Grief Amid COVID-19: This article from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital offers practical tips and strategies for managing grief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7 Tips for Managing Grief over the Holidays during COVID-19: Healthline provides seven helpful tips for individuals who are grieving during the holiday season while dealing with the additional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grief, Bereavement, and COVID-19: A Review and Suggestions for Practice: This research article published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grief and bereavement, providing suggestions for practice.


How can I cope with grief during the pandemic?

There are several strategies you can employ to cope with grief during the pandemic, such as seeking support from loved ones, engaging in self-care activities, seeking therapy or counseling, and finding healthy ways to express your emotions.

Are there specific tips for managing grief during the holidays?

Yes, managing grief during the holidays can be particularly challenging. Some tips for coping include honoring your loved one’s memory, creating new traditions, seeking support from others, and allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions.

How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact the grieving process?

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique challenges to the grieving process, such as limited physical contact with loved ones, restrictions on funeral services, and increased feelings of isolation. It is important to acknowledge and address these challenges while seeking support and finding alternative ways to cope.

What are some self-care activities to help with grief?

Engaging in self-care activities can be beneficial for managing grief. Some examples include exercise, meditation or mindfulness practices, journaling, spending time in nature, and engaging in hobbies or creative outlets that bring you joy.

When should I consider seeking professional help for my grief?

If you find that your grief is significantly impacting your daily life, relationships, or overall well-being, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor trained in grief and loss can provide additional support, guidance, and tools to help you navigate through your grief journey.