Many of us will have experienced loss in some form this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This could be a loss of job, education or health. It could be a sense of losing control of your life or a situation. It could be missing those precious moments with family, friends and loved ones.
Our member Catherine Gallacher said counselling can help you start to process what’s happened this year.
Speak to a counsellor
“If you feel you’re struggling, reach out for support,” she said. “When you speak to a counsellor, you’re talking about how you’re feeling and sharing your perspective.
“Often when someone is sitting in their own perspective they feel stuck.
“Counselling can help you to challenge your negative thoughts, and to find coping mechanisms, strategies and tools to help you move forward.”
Catherine added: “I like to give people goals, tasks to do so they can start getting a routine and structure in place. Tasks gives us control and a sense of normality.
“A lot of the structure may have gone because of what’s happening at the moment, and often getting these small structures and tools in place helps to get things moving again.
“Putting in place self-care. Eating healthily, getting better sleep, regular exercise, connecting with the right kind of people, looking at your work practices.
“Then also looking at the internal dialogue, with how they’re processing things.”
Christmas and the end of the year is often a time for reflection and contemplation, and looking back on the losses you’ve experienced in 2020 may leave you feeling a range of emotions, such as anger, guilt or grief.
Catherine, who is based in Glasgow, said: “Emotions can be overwhelming. You can feel tearful, angry, sad, confused and uncertain.
Confidence and resilience
“Some people have lost a lot of confidence and resilience.
“It’s about rebuilding that resilience and confidence, and helping people find some level of certainty and assuredness in all of this, to find anchors in their life.
“Even though there’s loss and change, people are adapting. It’s given us a chance to reflect and process some of these feelings.
“People have invested more in each other. They’ve had to become more aware of each other, and consider each other’s health and circumstances.
“I always think from a negative situation we can gain something insightful, which we can benefit from,” she added.
Tips to cope
Catherine has offered tips for people to cope with loss as the year draws to a close.
“Try breathing techniques,” she said. “And mindfulness, where you stay with what you know rather than catastrophising and over-thinking.
“Exercise is really important. Connecting and engaging with people around you as well.
“Maybe join an online class such as yoga or dance classes.
“Keeping a journal helps you to not just focus on the negatives, but helps you to look at why you’re feeling this way, to own it and acknowledge it.
“And counselling can give you those strategies and tools to move you forward,” she added.
If you’ve been affected by the issues in this article, find a BACP counsellor near you via our therapists’ directory.
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