It struck me the other day that we all have a common aspect amongst our lives right now – loss. Each of us has experienced the loss of something – connection to others, jobs and careers, promotions and recognition. The spectrum of that loss varies but I haven’t chatted to someone that hasn’t said they ‘miss’ something.
And it is Ok to feel this way, but we need to talk about it, to discuss it and share those feelings.
Loss of job
The numbers continue to rise of people losing their jobs. The impact of losing your job is huge – we all rely on our incomes to eat, have a roof over our heads and support our loved ones. Without it we lose more than just our jobs. We can also lose some of our identity.
Loss of education/graduation
Many of our children lost parts of their learning and even more importantly the connection and community with their friends at school. For young children in their formative years of learning that can be extremely important. Never before have we seen a worldwide disruption to education for so many – how will this loss play out in the coming years?
I’ve also heard many friends who have spent numerous years studying who are now missing out on graduation events. Not being able to celebrate their achievements as a group is a loss.
For those experiencing loss in education and their graduations – we see this – it’s OK to feel sad about it.
Loss of purpose
Many are saying they aren’t sure whether the careers they’ve created reflect their true purpose. They’ve been rocked by the disruption and are questioning their purpose – has the past X number of years working in this field been truly worth it, or should I actually be doing something entirely different? Do I need more personal development or even a whole new career aligned to something I’m passionate about?
It’s OK to feel a loss of your sense of purpose. Take some time to think about what it is you want. Our team at mwah. have create a mini journal you can download here that will help you work through some of these questions.
The missed promotion/recognition
There are many people who were just about to be promoted or receive some form of recognition in their role. With the impact on the economy and so many businesses in a holding pattern, this has not eventuated.
While some might say it is selfish to worry about this when others around you are losing hours or losing their jobs, it’s OK to feel the loss of ‘what could have been’. Your loss is also important.
Loss of a loved one
Some have suffered the ultimate loss. The loss of loved ones because of COVID-19.
Not having the ability to grieve with others, and celebrate their loved ones lives with others is raw and real. It also feels unjust and lonely for those experiencing it.
I’ve attended a funeral via zoom – lets be real it’s a horribly remote way to pay respects to someone. For many cultures, large numbers at funeral and life celebrations is part of the ritual that helps people to say goodbye.
I sincerely hope those that have experienced this loss know it is OK to feel anger and frustration.
My personal sense of loss
I’ve felt two aspects of loss personally.
At the start of COVID-19 my dog was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer – at that time we were in restrictions in South Australia and so no one was allowed into the vets. Our family were absolutely distraught that we would have to put our dog down with no one around him. With my working from home more regularly I feel the impending loss as his health deteriorates – it truly sucks when your furry office buddy is on a downward spiral.
I also experienced a loss of connection – I’d started a new role with mwah. 4 weeks prior to lockdown and was still getting used to my new colleagues and new way of working (home office, alone apart from my furry office buddy). Working at home I lost my connection with friends and old colleagues for quite a while. When we managed to find a time that suited for a Zoom lunch it just wasn’t quite the same – I realised most of my friends and colleagues including myself are ‘huggers’ and even when we met face to face we couldn’t do that.
I felt the loss of connection while remote and the ability to hug freely when face to face with those friends and old colleagues.
We have all had varying levels of loss – but there are some things we have gained. Appreciating these things helps us keep our losses in perspective.
- A renewed sense of purpose – some of us have realised what really makes us feel worthwhile at work and makes us tick – and are taking the opportunity to make some positive changes as a result.
- A new way of working – our working lives could be very different. We’ve gained insights into what that might look like. What can we do with those insights and use for great workplaces?
- Reconnection with loved ones – many of us have spent more time together in our homes and increased our connection with those who matter most to us (even if we have sometimes driven each other crazy!).
- A sense of collectivism – as a country we are all committed to looking out for each other, particularly our vulnerable community members – coming together for collective safety remains critical.
I’ve also experienced personal gain – our family lives in England and normally we would only connect monthly and have quite jilted conversations as we would forget what we had done in the preceding month. Since COVID-19 hit and because a lot of our family members are keeping housebound for their personal health, we’ve deliberately increased zoom calls. Our conversations have improved, and we are engaging better than ever. It feels silly that we needed to be blocked off from the other side of the world to create better connections!
Its Ok to feel loss
It’s Ok to feel loss – your loss is no less worthy than another person’s loss – it’s just different. It’s OK to not be OK with this loss but don’t suffer alone – share it. And try to balance it by appreciating some of the positives.