Coping with Grief

Coping with Grief 2015-06-02T15:02:47+00:00

• Everyone Grieves Differently

The death of a loved one can be devastating  and  bereavement affects people in uniquely different ways. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Grieving can be impacted by gender or cultural identity. Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you experience when someone you love dies. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be.

• Get Support

Talking and sharing your feelings with someone can really help. You don’t have to go through this alone. For some people, relying on family and friends is the best way to cope. For others being part of a faith community or having spiritual beliefs can be sustaining at this painful time. Do not let anyone tell you how you should feel and equally do not tell yourself how you should feel either.

• Overwhelming feelings

You can suppress your grief but you cannot avoid it forever. In order to heal and integrate the loss you need to acknowledge the pain and allow yourself to go through the stages of grief.  Feelings need to be faced rather than avoided. It’s perfectly normal for grief to feel chaotic and out of control, or to engulf the individual in waves of sadness. It’s also very normal to feel like you cannot  make decisions or that small chores can seem arduous. Unresolved grief can lead to complications such as anxiety, debilitating depression, substance abuse or somatic and physical ailments.

• Expressing your grief in creative ways

Many people like to journal how they feel, others want to garden, paint or make photo albums in order to process the loss. For some people writing a letter to the deceased in order to say all the things that did not get expressed, is a powerful method of articulating the unspoken. For others getting involved in a cause or organization that was meaningful to the deceased can be comforting.

• Anniversaries need attention

Plan ahead for anniversaries, birthdays and milestones as these can be extremely difficult. Be mindful of these occasions as you may need to take a day off work or do something that honors the deceased, such as going to a favorite restaurant or place or visiting the grave..

• Self Care

The stress of a major loss can significantly deplete you of energy and emotional reserves. It is more important than ever to take care of yourself as the mind and body are connected. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you survive this difficult time. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating well and gently exercising.