ARLINGTON, Va. – It’s a time of uncertainty for our nation as we face the threat posed by the coronavirus, and for those who are already struggling with grief, these troublesome times add more stress.

At any given time, about 7.5% of the U.S. population, or 25 million people, are grieving a death that occurred under normal circumstances. The added weight of uncertainty and the threat of the coronavirus can add to the trauma and stress load carried by the bereaved.

“We are being asked to keep a physical distance now between ourselves and others and this national emergency adds stress for those who are already grieving,” said Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors founder and President Bonnie Carroll. “We need to build up each other and our community in new ways. We know the foundation of hope is community, and together we are unbreakable.”

To help, TAPS offers the following tips for the bereaved:

n Take time to reflect. Slow down from a fast-paced lifestyle and allow yourself the time and space to reflect.

n Practice self-compassion. Make time to recharge and spend time taking care of yourself, the way you take care of others who need support.

n Pursue health and wellness. Make healthy food choices, get plenty of exercise and get adequate rest. Try to avoid stress-eating. Refrain from using excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine, and avoid tobacco, marijuana and illegal drugs.

n Hone your mind and focus. Cope with stress and anxiety by practicing (or learning) some new meditation skills, breathing techniques, and mindfulness practices, or faith-based focused prayer.

n Stay virtually connected to your social supports. Talk to family and friends through phone, texting, or video chats. If you see a therapist, call them to see how they will handle appointments; or locate a new provider who offers web-based or telehealth counseling services.

For more information, go to www.taps.org or call 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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