Dealing with bereavement and grief during social distancing

Lady making cups of tea in her kitchen.

Funerals have changed a lot over the last few months, and this change will undoubtedly have an impact on the way we grieve.

While our usual advice is to avoid isolating yourself, this may feel like an impossible task because of the social distancing guidelines in place. But it can still be done, and we’ve put together some guidance to help.

Stay connected

Stay connected with family and friends, either through video calling or social media. Putting in specific times to talk with friends and family may help to take your mind off things and add purpose to your day. If you normally just speak on the phone, try FaceTime or other methods of video calling instead. Being able to see your loved ones via video calling may help you feel more connected and is a good way to see family and friends whilst social distancing.

Look after yourself physically and mentally

It’s important to keep to a regular routine as much as possible. So as much as possible, try to get up at the same time each morning and prepare meals when you normally would have before. This can provide stability and comfort in getting through each day. If you’re able to leave your home to exercise once a day, do so. The smallest amount of exercise can help relieve stress and improve your mood. Set manageable, realistic tasks for yourself round the house, such as gardening or baking.

The important thing to remember is that it’s ok not to be ok. If you’d like more support, Mind can provide reassuring guidance and help for your mental health and wellbeing.

More information about bereavement support and charities

Practical support

It might seem difficult to ask for and receive practical support during these times of self-isolation and social distancing, however there are still things that loved ones can do to help you. Ask friends, family or neighbours for help if you need things like food shopping or a prescription picking up. Items can be left on your doorstep for you to collect without breaking social distancing rules.

If friends, family and neighbours are unable to help, and you're classed as extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you can register for support from local volunteers.

Looking after someone who's bereaved

If you know someone who is bereaved, there are a few things you can do to help them through this time of bereavement, social distancing and isolation. If you can offer practical help, like shopping or preparing food, please let them know. Also let them know that you're there for them if they’d like to talk over the phone. Talking can help a person's mindset and could provide social contact they may not have otherwise had.

You may not feel that you’ve been able to deal with your grief because of worries about the coronavirus and how it’s affecting the world. For more advice on how to deal with grief during social distancing, please visit Cruse Bereavement Care.

For our up to date advice on funerals at this time, please see our coronavirus advice.

Poem - Helen Lawson