7 Stages to Freedom Day

What is the value of freedom?  Does a bird continuously celebrate its ability to fly wherever it wants whenever it wants?  We experience 7 emotional  stages before appreciating freedom again.  It is very human that we have to recover from a loss to appreciate what we have, and to value what we had.

At the Highway Hospice, we know this process all too well as we work to minimize the effects of change caused by loss.  We understand the process of dealing with a, “New normal.” We strive to help people find freedom from the constraints of loss, grief and bereavement.  On this freedom day, we thought it helpful to share these emotional stages with you.  Confident you will relate to it mindfully:

SEVEN EMOTIONAL STAGES EXPERIENCED IN LOCK DOWN

  1. Optimisim: A surge of positive emotions, a feeling that this will be a good time!  “You got this” and you are up for the challenge.  It is going to be fine, and you are going to enjoy this.
  2. Determination: Positivity wanes over time, but remain determined. Plans and to-do lists become the order of the day.  With routine and schedule you hope to manage this time.
  3. Satisfaction & Frustration: Frustration creeps in, and you find it difficult to always be positive and productive.  When you are productive you feel satisfied, yet when you are not you are frustrated.  You struggle to balance the two, but still happy that you have the periods of satisfaction.
  4. Depression: Routine starts to slip, and feels less important as boredom starts to grow. You become more restless, and it becomes difficult to concentrate.  You start to miss the freedom you had to see things and importantly to visit loved ones and friends.  You begin to feel despair and experience depression on whatever level.
  5. Anger: Now more than missing your freedom, you are experiencing anger about the situation.  Surely this should be over, why do we have to keep extending, I hate being confined.  People you are locked down with are also getting easily irritated, and are more irritable to you.  Sometimes you will be tempted to break rules and bend boundaries as you process these feelings.
  6. Acceptance: You begin to understand that anger is not productive, and the only way to cope is to accept the situation for what it is. You realize that you can only do what is in your control, and let go of what is not.
  7. Making Meaning: You start to understand the meaning of it all, you think of the past and look toward the future. You realize this is necessary, you are serving humanity and you have a continued role to play.

These are also the stages of grief as outlined by Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  You do not always follow the steps as outlined, and can regress to periods above you at any time.  You will also feel the emotions, and act them out in accordance with your personality.  So, people prone to depression will feel that stage more strongly, angry people will be angry, the optimist more optimistic and so on.

This is our individual journey, and as much as we are #inittogether we need to find our own freedom.  Physical freedom will come, it is the emotional and intellectual freedom we need to seek in times like this.  Loss, grief and bereavement can take weeks, months, or years to recover from, and being aware of the process helps you understand the very human process you are in.

So for today, enjoy the freedoms you have!  Time, creativity, energy, spirituality, mindfulness, care, love, peace to name a few.  There are freedoms that nobody can take from you, and this is what we celebrate today!