Grief is a natural response when facing a life limiting illness and the death of someone you love. Each person experiences grief in their own way. It can change from day to day and over time. There is no right or wrong way of coping with grief.
Grief can feel overwhelming, and at specific times of the year can become a daunting experience. When faced with grief, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone as normalisation tends to contribute to strength to cope with any loss.
Things you may experience when coping with a loss:
- Have strong feelings – such as shock, anger, sadness, anxiety, panic, etc;
- Feel confused or have difficulty thinking;
- Find it hard to understand or accept the situation;
- Persistent worry about what will happen or have strange dreams;
- Feel lethargic or tired, lose appetite, find it hard to sleep or feel unwell.
These are normal responses to grief and loss. Your experience of grief will change as you learn to live with your loss. This may take a few or many months, depending on each individual. It is crucial to embrace your own experience of loss as no two individuals are alike.
Things that will help you cope with a loss:
It is essential that you take care of yourself, even as you deal with grief. When coping with grief many people become busy looking after others and consequently neglect to address grief symptoms in themselves. Some strategies include:
- Take time to reflect on what has happened;
- Use journaling to help you move through emotions. If you are feeling anxious, it may help to write down your thoughts;
- Find a good listener and talk about the person you have lost and how they contributed to your life;
- It’s best not to expect too much of yourself and avoid making big decisions too soon. Be good to yourself physically and emotionally. Use exercise to combat negative emotions. Exercise is an excellent self-care antidote to any negative emotions that may arise;
- To counter the feelings of loneliness you might like to consider joining a local support group for the bereaved. This is a self-care activity that may help you to re-engage with the community. Making connections with like-minded people can be a source of comfort and strength;
- Do things you enjoy, even if you don’t feel like doing them;
- Meditation can be a supportive self-care activity to help counter grief-related depression. If you would like to try meditation, the Smiling Mind website provides free meditations for adults and children.
More and more people readily access therapy and discuss mental health. Seeking help at the right time can make the process of coping with a loss much easier.
If you are going through difficulties and need support, why not give us a call today? Our team of highly skilled and well-experienced Psychologists are here to help.