How To Deal With Grief
Losing a loved one throws us off-balance, both emotionally and physically. How well you deal with the loss determines how soon you recover. For some, recovery is a lifelong process, when it comes to dealing with grief there are no strict rules, everyone is unique and everyone takes their own time to heal.
And because death is inevitable and affects us all, learning how to deal with the resulting grief is important. It prepares you to handle any eventuality, and if already bereaved, how to come out strong and ready to move forward.
How Do You Cope With Grief?
Share Your Feelings
Share your feelings with a trusted friend, a relative, or a work colleague. Anyone you feel comfortable to talk to, open up to and be honest with. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, see a counsellor, there are specialist counsellors who deal with people who are grieving. Express all your feelings of fear, sadness, or uncertainty. Open up and be honest, wear your heart on your sleeve, it is through this emotional outpouring that healing can begin.
It may be difficult to talk at the start, especially if you’re often a shy and reserved person but when you start it will become easier and easier.
Whatever You Feel It’s OK
Everyone feels different when they lose a loved one. For some, a deep sadness, for others, a feeling of emptiness or numbness. As mentioned above, whatever you’re feeling, it’s OK.
If you do need to cry, don’t bottle it up, don’t keep it in, let it out, open your heart up and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Often a good cry makes us feel so much better.
If you don’t need to cry and just want to sit in silence, be alone or sleep, that’s OK too. No matter how you feel no that it’s OK. Feelings of numbness, sadness or despair will not last, there is hope and things will get better with time.
Don’t be afraid to feel and don’t beat yourself up. No matter what you feel, even if you feel nothing, that’s perfectly fine. You may go through a whirlwind of emotions, just understand that this is normal and you will get through whatever you’re feeling in that moment.
Try & Sleep
When going through a grief, especially if you’ve lost someone recently, sleeping may be really difficult.
It is not unusual for people who are suffering from grief to feel mentally and physically exhausted, yet they may still have difficulty getting a good night rest.
As difficult as it may be, you must try and get some sleep. Not sleeping will only make you feel worse and could cause serious health issues. Sleep helps your body to repair, heal and return to normal. Nodding off may be difficult, try reading a book to rest your mind, this will help you fall asleep. Even if you only manage to get a few hours you will feel much better for it as opposed to having no sleep at all.
Try & Keep a Normal Routine
It may often be difficult to keep your day to day routine when struggling with grief. Sometimes grief sinks us into such a low depression that we may find it difficult to do the most basic of day to day tasks. Things that once seemed easy like getting out of bed in the morning can become extremely difficult and even tiresome.
If possible try and force yourself to keep a day to day routine. Just small steps like getting out of bed in the morning, having something to eat and getting dressed are huge achievements. Little steps turn into big strides and will be well worth it in the long run.
Eat & Drink Well
As mentioned above, doing simple tasks like cooking and eating can become increasingly difficult when going through the different stages of grief.
Try to avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates, there is evidence these foods can cause a nose-dive in your overall mood, foods like fish, on the other hand, have shown to increase brain function and help with mood. The main thing though is to ensure you eat and drink properly and look after your health.
Avoid alcohol at all costs, it will only make you feel much worse. Alcohol is a depressant and will only make you feel much, much worse. Not only that but Alcohol can impair your judgement and you could end up feeling a lot worse the following day or even get yourself into a downward spiral of out of control drinking.
You can not deal or work your way through the stages of grief while intoxicated with alcohol, it will only prolong the healing process.
See a Doctor
If things get really tough and you just can’t move forward or are having difficulty dealing with day to day tasks and life, you may want to discuss this with your doctor. Ultimately it’s entirely your choice but talking to a doctor is not a ‘failure’ sometimes we need a little help or boost through counselling or medication to help us through some of the grief process.
Complete healing after the loss of a loved one takes time, how much time depends on each and every person, be patient with yourself and give yourself time.
You may never be completely healed but I do promise it becomes easier to manage over time.