The year 2020 was the year of a worldwide pandemic, the year of abnormality, micro-losses, and grief.
Precautions and regulations taken during this time were very different than what “normal” life was for many people before the pandemic.
In the video linked below, Dr. David Hartman explains to us how a majority of people underwent micro-losses during this unprecedented time.
What is a micro-loss?
Hartman defines the term as “small losses due to the pandemic that affect our ability to grieve.” Everyone’s small losses, when added together, are quite significant.
Micro-losses include the loss of our individual sense of place, routine, predictability, competence, and even more specifically: the loss of health, income, and energy. Our brain does not process micro-losses in a productive way because we compare our losses in the context of the world around us.
One current example is seeing an illness and death rate on social media- these seem so significant compared to our losses.
This distorts our sense of accepting and identifying our losses because they seem so insignificant compared to the larger numbers. To further clarify, an example used in the video below is that the inability to go to the coffee shop seems so unimportant because a friend’s grandmother died due to Covid. We fail to grieve our loss of an activity that used to bring us pleasure because our brain recognizes that others are struggling more.
So how do we overcome micro-losses?
We continue to practice gratitude, staying positive and grateful during times filled with happiness. Something to acknowledge and fully understand is that the way of life that we previously cherished is currently unavailable to us and will change in the future, not necessarily in a negative way but in a way different than how it once was. An important message from Dr. Hartman that stuck out to me personally was how valuable it is for us to create space to “feel your feelings.” This is often an inadvertent process we do every day and may overlook the importance of it.
Overcoming micro-losses might take time, but understanding how grief affects us, accepting that it is appropriate to grieve, and taking time to do so are all underlying factors in this process. The video that I am referencing this post to was posted in April of 2020 and a lot has changed since then. Something that has remained the same is the importance of being able to integrate the lessons learned from this pandemic in your future and accepting that life goes on even if it may be slightly different.