How to move through Grief

by Rodney on March 30, 2015

beauty girl cry

The only things certain in life are death and taxes. This means everyone is certainly going to experience an often complex issue, Grief.

Grief is our response to a loss. While it is most commonly associated with loss through death, it applies to any loss such as loss of health, independence, relationships, possessions of meaning such as a house or even job. A loss of anything that you have a strong attachment will result   in a grief reaction.

Processing and moving through the emotions associated with the grief response is called grieving. While there have been many studies, countless books and millions of opinions and ideas from people who have gone through it, the important thing to remember is that there is no one way to grieve. Grieving is as unique as the person experiencing it and there is no one size fits all answer.

Here are 5 things to consider when finding a way of grieving that works for you.

Emotionally vent

Greif brings up an assortment of different and painful emotions. They are often confusing for people as they can often contradict each other. You can experience anger, sadness; fear, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, and relief just to name a few. Just remember that this is normal. Just because you are experiencing one emotion instead of another does not mean that you are not coping. Often people try to supress these emotions as a way of dealing with the grief. Suppressing emotions is not a healthy long term strategy for dealing with grief. Over time, supressed emotions will bubble to the surface and explode, which can result in a breakdown or an act of violence. A healthier option is to vent these emotions. You can do this through journaling, blogging, talking or even through creative endeavours such as art or creative writing.

Take care of yourself

When we are grieving, it can be common to shut down or find it difficult to do normal everyday tasks. This can result in you not taking care of yourself properly. You need to take care of yourself so you can have the energy and the clarity to move through the grief process. Remember to eat, shower, exercise and drink plenty of water. It may seem difficult, but forcing yourself to do even a little will help you in the long run.

Avoid self-medicating

A common way for people to deal with heavy emotions is to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or prescription medication. This will only numb the emotional pain that you’re experiencing, after the it wears off, the pain will still be there. Also, if it gets out of control, it can have a permanent negative impact on your health; worst case scenario is overdose which can result in death. There are plenty of other ways to deal with painful emotions, consider seeking professional help to find one that works for you.

Stay connected

It is normal to withdraw from family, friends and life in general when grieving. While time alone to reflect and be vulnerable is good, too much can result isolation and loneliness. You need to find a balance. Remember to keep talking and checking in with family and friends, get out and be social occasionally and reach out for help from a professional counsellor.

Distract yourself

Living with grief every day can be exhausting. That’s why I find it is necessary to give yourself a break once in a while by finding something that will distract you. Distraction is doing something that will help you take your mind off the fact that you are grieving. It can be something happy and or fun like reading, going to the beach or watching a movie or TV show or it can be something that will take up time and focus, such as work. Distracting yourself, even just a little bit will help to break up the pain you’re experiencing.

The last important thing to remember is that there is no time limit. Some people go through the grief process quicker than others.  Take the time you need. You may have others tell you that you should be over it by now, just remember, it’s not a race.

 


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