During the pandemic, have you ever felt that you were grieving the life you used to have? Watching older movies, do you feel nostalgic seeing people gather without concern for social distancing? Have you felt sad, lost, or discouraged by regulations or because you could not see your loved ones or social connections?
Research from de Jong, Ziegler, and Schippers in 2020 discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic feels like ongoing grief, not only for the sense of normal that you’ve lost, but some of you may have lost sight of what makes life meaningful. In psychology, existentialism suggests that each person has to find their own sense of meaning about life and their own existence, which is no easy task. When you are born, you aren’t given an instruction manual on how to think productively and healthily, how to take care of your body, or how to live a meaningful life. In reality, everyone is winging it.
In times of confusion and sometimes daily changes to regulations and rules, particularly for our health care worker friends, having a sense of direction or professional advice can be a great help. This blog from Whitevalley Community Resource Centre will try to offer answers and speak truths that we all feel and struggle with in these unprecedented times. Please feel free to ask questions and engage with us, whether authentically or anonymously. We would love to hear from you! Please write your comments and reactions to this blog!
Despite the pandemic and ongoing restrictions in British Columbia, you do not have to lose your zest for life. The way that you discover meaning is exactly that, you discover it through your experiences learning what you like and are passionate about, trying new things, learning new skills, and expanding your comfort zone. Ask yourself: Is there something you want to try? Is there a hobby you have been putting off because life is too busy? What do you want to be doing a year from now?
De Jong, Ziegler, and Schippers discuss a concept called life crafting. For those of you keen on crafting like knitting or sewing, this is an ideal metaphor. A knitter often has a pattern and they know the outcome they are trying to achieve. For those more skilled knitters, they likely picture an image of a sweater or toque in their mind, no longer needing a pattern to guide them. These concepts also apply goal setting and creating an interesting and dynamic life by taking small steps or “stitches” towards a larger goal. In order to life craft, think about your present and future life in important aspects such as family, social, work, and leisure, and ask yourself if what you have in these aspects now aligns with your values and what deeply matters to you. De Jong, Ziegler, and Schippers suggest writing out what you like to do for fun and for work, and what qualities you admire in others that you may be interested in cultivating in yourself. This is the starting point to crafting a life that you find fulfilling and meaningful.
de Jong, E. M., Ziegler, N., & Schippers, N. C. (2020). From shattered goals to meaning in life: Life crafting in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11(577708), 1 – 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.577708 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593511/
Jenni Radmacher, RN; Counsellor