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You know the feeling. You’re chugging along in a good groove. After a while, you settle into a rhythm and may even begin taking the upbeat vibe for granted. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, you are greeted with sudden, perhaps drastic change. It feels jolting, disorienting, and yes, …it can be frightening.

On some level, we all know change is inevitable, but time and time again, it takes us by surprise. When it’s a significant change — like the COVID-19 global health crisis — it can send you into a tailspin and grasping for ways to stay calm and safe. Even though pieces of the economy are opening up in Ohio and across the country, the summer of 2020 is not going to be like any we’ve experienced. And all your best-laid plans for it have been scattered to the wind.

Change Is Inevitable

Nothing lasts forever except impermanence. It’s a delicate balancing act to accept this non-negotiable reality while still enjoying the present moment. You might say that this high-wire juggling act is our life’s work.

Those who practice mindfulness are best equipped to tackle the issue. 

Mindful seated woman | Mental health therapist Columbus Ohio offers online counseling at Blue Boat Counseling | Ohio | 2020

They appreciate the moment not only because it’s all we honestly have but also because they know for sure that things will change. However, even the most mindful have a lot in their hands when the change arrives suddenly and intensely.

Not All Change Is Created Equal

There is a kind of change that qualifies as upheaval. It strikes at our foundations or the foundations of our social contract. This kind of change is traumatic, and it creates aftermath.

There is perhaps no better illustration of this type than the coronavirus pandemic. Everything we took for granted — e.g., our health, finances, career, comfort, and natural ability to move about freely — is up for grabs.

Woman wearing mask at grocery store | Columbus OH counseling for anxiety and depression | Online therapy in Ohio | 2020

In rare instances like this, we feel a sense of profound loss. An inevitable outcome of loss is grief and mourning. It may be for a particular individual. But a less explored form of grief occurs after we’ve been thrown off course. Our plans are irrevocably altered. It leaves us floundering, lost and sometimes having depressing thoughts or experiencing depression symptoms. Such a scenario requires us to face up to the need for grieving as we seek to recover our previously positive outlook.

6 Healthy Ways to Grieve Your Plans & Stay Positive After Sudden Change Due to COVID-19

1. Acceptance

Denial is a normal reaction to sudden change. To process and thrive, it is essential to shift quickly to acceptance. Accept that a). change is inevitable, and b). a significant change has just occurred. Don’t waste valuable energy struggling against reality. Instead, aim that focus on managing, healing, and helping others.

2. Maintain Whatever Structure You Can

This strategy, of course, depends on the scope of the change. In the case of social distancing, you‘ll be well-served to set up a routine as close as possible to what you’re used to while still following pandemic protocols. Over time, you can explore new approaches.

3. Self-Care

This choice has two benefits. Firstly, you become the better, healthier version of you. Also, you’re reminding yourself that you matter. Prioritize essentials like sleep, healthy eating, and activity habits.

4. Digital Detox

Take breaks from the endless notifications and the panic-inducing COVID-19 headlines. Use that time to practice stress management and to cultivate mindfulness.

5. Seek Out a Support System

Friends, family, neighbors — find people with whom you can share trust. Have a video call or a social distant chat in the driveway. Humans are social beings and need to stay connected even under social distancing guidelines. These changes can really affect children as well and may require that you help them manage big feelings they’re experiencing. Consider seeking professional guidance, too. There is professional support available as most mental health counseling practices are open for online therapy, which is effective and even has some benefits over in-person counseling.

Man at laptop | Columbus counseling for depression & anxiety | Online therapy at Blue Boat Counseling in Ohio | 2020

6. Embrace the Opportunity to Reinvent

In moments of turmoil, you can find the seeds of fresh and new ideas. When your routine and your plans are gone, you are free to reinvent. What are some new things you and your family could try this summer that fit within the confines of social distancing and other COVID-19 guidance? Personal growth can be the lasting gift of grief and loss.


Sudden changes leave us without a roadmap. In this scenario, it’s comforting and healing to find a skilled mental health counselor to help us navigate this uncharted territory. Even in a period of sheltering at home, online counseling offers much-needed relief and recovery. Please reach out for support; you’re not alone. Blue Boat Counseling offers online therapy, and we can help. Contact us today to schedule an online appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. We’re here for you.