Grief, in general, is a response to loss. Grief can occur after a death, divorce, sickness or other significant loss such as a miscarriage or changes to one’s employment status.
Grief often involves intense sadness, and sometimes feelings of shock, numbness or even denial and anger. Nonetheless, how people experience and manage grief can differ from person to person. It has no set pattern. Some people like to be expressive and public with their emotions, while others like to keep grief private.
Grief is also a process or journey that affects individuals differently. For some, it can be exhausting and emotionally draining, making it hard to do simple things or even leave the house, while others cope by becoming more active.
For most people, healing occurs with time. They may always carry sadness and miss the person who has died, but are able to find meaning and experience pleasure again. Some people even find new wisdom and strength after experiences of loss.
I have personally found the following strategies of coping with grief to be helpful:
- Allowing yourself to grieve – Give yourself the time and space to experience your emotions. Cry if you need to. Exploring and expressing emotions can be part of your healing process.
- Staying connected – Surrounding yourself with friends and family who are able to support you emotionally and functionally (help get some groceries, walk your dog etc).
- Remember the positive memories – Think of the moments you enjoyed with the person. Go through pictures or have an object belonging to the individual close to you. Write a letter or journal.
- Keep a daily routine – While you allow yourself to grieve, also ensure you take care of yourself by going out for short walks and eating healthy food. You will be surprised that simple things such as making your bed in the morning or grooming your hair can also have a positive impact on your day.
While some are able to process grief and loss without professional help, others may need an extra helping hand. If you present with the following symptoms, it may be time for you to seek help:
- appetite changes (loss of appetite or overeating)
- intense sadness
- difficulty sleeping
- feelings of emptiness or feelings of despair
- thoughts of harming yourself
Our dedicated and experienced team at Your Mind Matters can help you. You do not need to go through this alone. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 03 9802 4654 should you wish to discuss your options.
This blog was written by Dr Aiyuen (Shannon) Choong, Psychologist at Your Mind Matters. Aiyuen is fluent in English and Mandarin, and is passionate about working with children from preschool years through to adolescence.
To learn more about Aiyuen, click here.