The COVID-19 pandemic will reach its second anniversary in March. This anniversary may bring up difficult memories or feelings. You may experience one or more of these reactions:
- Disbelief. The last two years may feel like a bad dream. You may wonder if life will ever get back to normal.
- Time distortion. Two years of lockdowns, canceled events, and limited travel may be impacting your sense of time. Some people have been reluctant to make plans for fear they will be disrupted, which may increase the feeling that life is stuck in an endless loop.
- Grief. Those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 or another illness may feel the loss of that person anew. People may also grieve lost events, travel, or time with family and friends.
- Anger. You may feel frustrated by circumstances, the behavior of others, or opportunities that have been lost due to the pandemic.
- Difficulty with reminders. You may struggle with memories of lost loved ones or feel fresh disappointment about events that have been postponed or canceled. Driving past a closed business or a house where a friend used to live may also bring to mind how your routine has changed.
If you are struggling with the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, these steps may help:
- Seek support. Talk to family, friends, and co-workers about how you are feeling. A support group or individual counseling may also be helpful.
- Practice good self-care. Get sufficient rest, exercise, and nutrition. Journaling or practicing mindful meditation may help you cope with feelings of stress, anger, or grief.
- Reach out. Let people know that you are available to provide support and encouragement. Some people may want to reminisce about past events or the “before times.”
- Commemorate the anniversary. Writing a blog post, creating art or craft piece, or making a charitable donation are all good ways to mark the passage of time and memorialize those lost.
Seek help if:
- The anniversary is causing disruption in your life, work, or relationships.
- You feel overwhelmed by your feelings.
- You worry that your reaction isn’t “normal.”
- You are using alcohol or other drugs to cope.