Grief is a normal emotional response we all experience during loss. Often people associate grief with the loss of a loved one. This is one of the more intense grief experiences we can endure, although there are lots of ways we can experience grief. This includes; going through a breakup or divorce, retirement, loss of job, death of a pet, loss of friendships, abortion, or miscarriage.
Often the pain we experience from loss can be overwhelming. There are many emotions that can arise through guilt, such as anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt, disbelief, shock and frustration. It is normal to feel mixed emotions and to experience different emotions at different times.
Grief is an individual healing process that takes time to overcome. Everyone experiences grief in their own way and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is completely normal to feel sad during this time, it is all part of the healing process.
Here are some tips to remember if you are currently experiencing grief and loss.
- Observe your feelings.
It is okay to feel sad, angry or frustrated. Acknowledge that it is acceptable to experience different emotions during this time and that it is a normal part of the grieving process. It is also okay to experience positive emotions such as joy and happiness. This does not mean that you don’t care or have moved on; it simply means you are human.
Observing your feelings can bring up lots of memories and stories you can share with family and friends.
- Grief is a unique process
We all experience grief in our own way. There is no rulebook to go by and no timeframe to fit into, and that’s okay. We may experience denial for a period of time, drift in between sadness and anger, cry and even laugh. All of these emotions are personal and are part of the healing process of accepting and understanding the grief.
- Reach out to family and friends
Take some time to chat with family or friends about how you are feeling. It can be helpful to share stories and memories you shared with your loved one. To remember the good times you had together and they impact they had on your life. Support from others can provide reassurance and comfort for the way you may be feeling.
- Write a letter
You may feel some regret towards not saying or doing something before the current loss. It can be helpful to have a think about what you would like to say or do and write this out in a letter. This can help alleviate any regret or bottled up emotions by getting it off your chest and into a meaningful letter that you can keep and read back on when you feel you need it.
- Take each day one step at a time
It can be hard to go about your usual routine during this time. Often we experience lack of energy and interest in the usual things we do. Try to maintain a schedule or routine that you can sustain to keep your eating, sleeping and exercise habits in check. This can help with balancing your emotions throughout the day.
- Don’t let others tell you how to feel
We often hear phrases like ‘you’ll get over it’, ‘move on’ or ‘don’t be sad’. These phrases can make us feel misunderstood and invalidate our feelings. Remember that is okay to be feeling whatever emotions you experience. Allow yourself to feel without judgement from yourself or others. You will be able to accept that grief in your own time.
- Seek out support
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to you can always book an appointment with a counsellor or psychologist. Mental health professionals are trained to help and support you through this process in safe space where you can feel comfortable to express your feelings. They can also provide tips that are specific to your situation to help you with your healing process.