I recently reached out to Belmont’s Director of Counseling Services Katherine Cornelius, LCSW, on how we can help students cope during COVID-19. As I read through the resources she provided, I realized that like our students we as faculty need tools to help us manage this change, and in many ways our sense of loss.
Katherine provided an article to help us and our students, navigate this time. In his Harvard Business Review article “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief,” Scott Berinato interviews David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief and founder of www.grief.com. In the interview, Kessler describes the different types of grief and management techniques, beginning with the importance of naming grief, grief. “When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you,” Kessler said. “Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through.”
Kessler ends by encouraging us to “stop at the first feeling.” He notes that we often tell ourselves, I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse. Stopping at the first feeling, though, allows us to feel sad and then process through it. “It’s absurd to think we shouldn’t feel grief right now,” Kessler said. “Let yourself feel the grief and keep going.”
Katherine adds the importance of connection to his advice. “One of the biggest things we can do right now is normalize the fact that nothing is normal and encourage folks to reach out,” Katherine said. “Help is still there even though it may look a little different during this time.”
At Belmont, the Be Well BU team is offering a variety of tips via email and social media, including their “Wellness While You Wait” video series. Counseling and support groups are also available. Faculty and students can learn more by calling 615.460.6856 or via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.