As you know, grief is one of the most difficult experiences you may face. It is a pain that just does not seem to stop. Finding ways to cope with grief is a challenge for many people. There is not a single answer to managing grief as grief is different for each person. Even though we are on a similar journey of losing someone we love, our path through grief is not the same. You must actively find ways to cope with your feelings of grief.
Grief will often create a wide range of emotions from anger, sadness, anxiety, or fear. You are normal if you are experiencing these feelings. You must first, acknowledge your loss and your feelings of grief as that will allow you to begin the healing process.
Grief can make us feel like we are in slow motion or even frozen in time. It can be triggered by a song, picture, or even a smell and hit us in ways that we are not prepared for. This is why we need some time to process our thoughts and emotions.
Finding ways to express your grief will help you move toward healing. Remember you are not alone as others before you have had similar emotions. Consider your feelings as a normal part of grief.
Once you have acknowledged your grief you can begin your journey toward healing. There are a number of tools that you might consider to help you during this time. We will review a few here that you might consider.
Keep a Journal
Journaling may be the right avenue for you to help express your grief. It can be therapeutic to keep a journal as it may give your feedings a voice as you grieve. It is also known to reduce stress, sharpen your memory, improve your mood, and strengthen your emotional health. If you want to learn more about the healing power of journaling, check out this article 5 Powerful Health Benefits of Journaling.
Grief Support Groups
Grief Support Groups are another tool that can be used to help you toward healing. A grief support group will connect you with others who have also experienced a loss and provide emotional support for grief. It is a safe environment for expressing how you feel. Groups are not for everyone as you might not feel comfortable sharing your story with people you do not know. Although, some people like to share in a non-judgmental group where they feel free to express their feelings. A group might be right for you if your family or friends are not able to meet your needs of support or if you feel like you need a like-minded community for support.
Self-care is holistic encompassing our mental, physical and emotional health to reduce stress. By focusing on mental health, you will be able to clear your head and reduce stress. Take time for yourself to engage in a scheduled activity such as listening to music, meditating, a massage, or something that will allow you to decompress and relax. Purposeful breathing is also a good way to reduce stress.
Incorporating the physical aspect of self-care includes exercise, meal planning, eating healthy, getting more sleep, and even drinking water. Doing something physical like walking is part of self-care. Set aside 20-30 minutes for some type of physical activity at least three times a week. You should decide what works for you. It might be a local group class, committing with a friend to walk three times a week or another activity. What is important is to find what will work for you and commit to it.
Drinking water may seem like a strange initiative toward self-care but water is your friend. It helps reduce stress. Studies have found that dehydration leads to a higher level of cortisol, the stress hormone. Staying hydrated will reduce stress. Keep a glass or water bottle nearby to remind you to drink water.
Take time for yourself. No matter how much you are tempted to neglect yourself, don't. Set time aside each day dedicated to taking care of yourself and your mental health. Give yourself permission to grieve. It’s your journey but you are not alone.