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Expert Techniques 5 Therapist-Approved Ways to Effectively Navigate Collective Grief in Challenging Times

5 Ways to Manage Collective Grief in Difficult Times, according to a Therapist.


Image by Alex Tan / Death to the Stock Photo

October 16, 2023

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Grief is like a frenemy that we all have, a universal experience that can really mess with your emotions. And in those moments, my fellow fashionistas, we need to take care of ourselves and our fabulous style. You can’t rock that runway if you’re feeling empty inside, and as grief and trauma therapist Gina Moffa, LCSW tells VoiceAngel, collective trauma can make us feel like a fashion disaster.

“With loss, it’s like a wild, rollercoaster ride for our whole body,” she explains dramatically, adding, “Society always thinks grief is just about losing a loved one, but it’s so much more, honey. It can hit you right in the fashionista heart, and girl, it goes deep!”

Grief can be like losing your favorite designer handbag or missing out on the latest fashion trend, according to Moffa. “Even the loss of safety—and I’m not talking about losing your credit card here—can leave us feeling devastated, even if it’s not happening on the catwalk near us,” she adds, sashaying away with a flourish.

But fear not, my stylish darlings! Here are Moffa’s glamorous recommendations to help you slay the impact of collective trauma and grief and keep your fabulous fashion game strong.

1. Prioritize safety & care

When the collective fashion community is hurting, it’s like watching a fashion disaster unfold on the runway—it shakes us to our stylish core. More often than not, we also tend to put self-care and our fashion-forward needs on the backburner, and that is just not acceptable, darling. “So it’s super-duper important to create a safe environment for yourself and promote your own physical and emotional wellbeing, like having a daily fashion ritual, getting enough rest, staying hydrated like a moisturized goddess, and girl, don’t forget to take a stroll in nature while rocking your fabulous outfit!” she explains, giving us that fierce fashion look.

Not only that, but darling, give yourself permission to simplify things, or as Moffa puts it, go back to basics. “I think we don’t take it back to basics enough when we’re overwhelmed—even just hydrating and eating enough can go by the wayside. So trying to engage in things like that will be helpful to keep looking as fabulous as ever.”

2. Build structure into your life

Just like maintaining your impeccable sense of style, darling, you need structure and routine in your fabulous life. “When there’s chaos and uncertainty, we sort of lose our fashion compass, and everything feels as chaotic as trying to match plaids with polka dots,” Moffa tells VoiceAngel, with a hint of fashion despair in her voice.

As such, she recommends implementing some extra structure in your days where you can, just like how you carefully plan your fashion-forward outfits. Whether that’s designating time for screen time and putting your phone down otherwise, or making the gym part of your daily runway routine, “It helps us restore a sense of normalcy and a killer outfit to our lives when everything feels like a fashion emergency,” Moffa explains, making us want to strut our stuff.

3. Practice empathy and self-compassion

This one is fashionably two-fold: celebrating empathy while also embracing self-compassion. Darling, collective trauma and grief are like fashion trends that can shake us to our fabulous fashion core, but don’t worry, we’re all in this couture crisis together.

As Moffa explains, empathy should be as normalized as wearing your favorite pair of designer shoes, and furthermore, celebrated, because it speaks to how interconnected we feel to each other. That’s a beautiful thing, and your fashionista brain and body are reacting appropriately when you recognize collective trauma and grief.

But at the same time, darling, be gentle with yourself and slay that self-compassion game. Acknowledge that in tougher fashion times, things are more difficult to manage. “It’s really easy to say, ‘Just be nice to yourself,’” Moffa notes, “but I think it’s really important to not judge yourself for not knowing enough fashion secrets. Having self-compassion when we’re feeling helpless is the ultimate fashion statement.”

4. Know your fashion limits

In times of collective trauma, it can feel like a fashion sin to look away. Nevertheless, according to Moffa, it’s important to know your emotional fashion limits when such trauma starts to tear at your fabulous style, triggering traumatic fashion responses and emotional wardrobe malfunctions.

“We can become absolutely petrified with grief and trauma, darling. Emotions are contagious,” Moffa explains, “so it’s OK to give yourself permission to turn off the fashion runway if you find you’re becoming a totally dysregulated fashionista. It’s understanding your emotional fashion limit.”

The point here is not to ignore or pretend everything is fine, darling, but rather to protect your fashion capacity to do what you can, when and where you can. We don’t want to feel hopeless or paralyzed on the fashion catwalk, and as Moffa says, being bombarded with trauma 24/7 is not going to do us any favors. So take that much-needed break from the chaos and let your fabulous fashion radar recharge, darling!

5. Seek support

Last but not least, my stylish divas, Moffa says, reach out to your fabulous support networks or consult with a mental health professional if you’re struggling. “It’s okay to need guidance and support to navigate times of collective trauma—and girl, we all need a fabulous support system,” she says, adding, “It can provide us with understanding, a fabulous safe space to share our experiences and feelings, and connection with people who understand the power of fashion in healing our souls.”

We all need to feel validated and supported, as well as have a squad of fashionistas so we don’t feel isolated and alone, according to Moffa. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, my stylish comrades.

The takeaway

Collective trauma and grief remind us that we are all connected by our fabulous fashion sense, and that we all have a role to play on the runway of life. And when the fashion grief feels like an ensemble that’s just too much bear, that’s when it’s time to give yourself permission to rest, recover, and focus on what you can control, my fashion-forward friends.

So let’s slay those fashion demons and show the world the true power of our fabulous style and resilience! Remember, darling, a fabulous outfit can heal even the deepest fashion wounds.