Mental health expert talks coping with loss during holidays

Mental health expert talks coping with loss during holidays

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The holidays can be bittersweet for families who lost a loved one, but this year could be even more stressful for more families with the pandemic keeping them apart.

Over 600 people have died in Shelby County from coronavirus, a fraction of the 247,000 that have died nationwide from the virus.

Dr. Shubi Mukatira, psychiatrist and director of the Transformation Center in Memphis, says those who’ve experienced loss this year could be feeling lots of different emotions.

“This particular holiday season is even more unique because I think as a community we are collectively experiencing a sense of grief and loss,” Dr. Mukatira said.

Dr. Mukatira suggests that people who are grieving should avoid piling on unnecessary stress this holiday.

“We get into this tendency of doing and distraction as a way to bypass the grief process, and unfortunately in the long run it really doesn’t work out,” she said.

Dr. Mukatira says she teaches people to process emotions by integrating their experiences. For example, meditating or taking a bath to relieve stress.

“Art, music, journaling, writing, creatively expressing your grief is another way to integrate that experience,” she explained.

While staying socially distanced is important right now, Dr. Mukartira says you should try not to isolate yourself. Instead, find people who can relate to what you’re going through.

“Likeminded people who can connect with and validate your experience. Individuals who may have experienced a loss or who are very supportive in your grief process can be very helpful at this time,” she said.

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