Photo: Karim MANJRA

Recently, I have been bombarded with a number of people expressing how difficult it has been to concentrate lately. Frankly, I have felt it too. Simple tasks seem to have taken on a new weightiness, brain fog complicates normal to-do lists, and making decisions can feel excruciatingly difficult. 

You may be surprised to find out that these symptoms, along with the following listed below, are actually very commonly related to dealing with grief and loss:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Agitation
  • Aimless activity or inactivity
  • Decreased attention span
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased or increased food intake
  • Appetite disturbance
  • Problems with sleep patterns
  • Fatigue
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty with memory recall
  • Difficulty making simple decisions

For some, the reality of loss during this time is easily identifiable. Maybe you lost a loved one to the virus or another event during this time. For you, the grief might feel unescapable. If that is you, I am profoundly sorry and hope you are able to find support and healing in this trying time. 

For others, however, our losses may have been more subtle, maybe to the point where we have not identified them as actual losses. Even though we may not have identified our grief, we may be seeing it show up in various ways. 

Even though we may not have thought about it this way before, for all of us, COVID has been marked by significant change and therefore significant loss. 

In taking a minute to reflect, think about if you may have lost any of the following in the last few months: a job and with it some of the identity that came with you assuming that position; your sense of financial stability; normal social supports; your routine; depending on your situation, alone time or social support or both; plans you had made; your normal stress outlets (work out classes, support groups, faith gatherings, etc.); your sense of freedom, etc. 

In no way is this an exhaustive list of what you may have lost during this time, however it may get you thinking about how this time may have been marked by loss.

Properly identifying grief and loss in our lives can help inform next steps and helps us to resource ourselves appropriately.

Here are some helpful tips for moving through grief and loss: 

  • Know that you are not alone. Grief is a normal and natural response to loss and our brain and body respond to it in different ways. It can be helpful to know that you are not alone in the struggle and that others are experiencing similar reactions.
  • Name what you are experiencing and feeling. Creating narrative around your current situation is a powerful way of processing your emotional state. It may be helpful to name your losses and recognize where grief may be showing up for you. 
  • Have compassion for your current state. You may find it more difficult to concentrate or complete tasks as a result of your grief. Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself if you need a bit more time or additional support right now. 
  • Seek support. You do not have to go through this alone. While it may look different right now, it is still important to seek social support. You can reach out to friends, family, or a therapist to help you process your grief. 

For additional resources surrounding the stages of grief and working through grief, visit

*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

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