Grieving can be confusing for people who care about you. It’s important that you listen to them with compassion and that you allow them to grieve their own way. Offering reassurance that their reaction is normal can be helpful. It is also important to give them hope. This can be done by describing your own experiences with grief and by pointing out that many people manage to heal over time.
Talking To Others
Talking about your feelings with others is an important part of the grieving process. While many people feel uncomfortable talking about their grief with friends and family, having a few trusted listeners can be a huge help. Even if the person you are talking to doesn’t fully understand what you are going through, they may be able to offer some comfort and support. Other ways to communicate your feelings are through writing or art. Keeping a journal is a great way to express yourself and reflect on your emotions. You can also use music to explore your feelings, either on your own or in a group setting.
It is common to hear that there are different stages of grief, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But remember that everyone experiences grief differently, and you don’t necessarily have to go through all of the stages in order to heal. Often, the pain of coping with loss is eased by re-establishing connections to meaning and purpose.
Keeping Memories Alive
Even after the loss of a loved one, it’s important to keep their memory alive. This can be done in a variety of ways, from special holiday traditions to memorializing the person with a permanent memorial. While it may be helpful to think about your loved one and reminisce, be wary of getting stuck in the stages of grief. Not everyone goes through these stages in a linear fashion, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve.
It may also be helpful to talk about your feelings with others. This can be done in a support group or with a counselor. A local hospital or cancer treatment center, your health insurance company, and even support organizations may be able to connect you with a professional who can help.
Getting Some Rest
Reminiscing in a healthy way with friends or family, journaling your thoughts and emotions and engaging in physical activity such as walking, running or punching a bag are ways to release energy and help you cope. Embracing your faith and participating in religious rituals, such as attending church services or private prayer can be comforting, too. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions when you’re grieving, including sadness, shock and anger. You may also experience feelings of guilt or remorse, which can sometimes be overwhelming.
Grief can be emotionally exhausting, so getting enough sleep is important. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can help you get better rest. Having a good diet and exercising regularly can also improve your chances of sleeping better.
Taking Care Of Yourself
The intense emotions you feel after losing a loved one can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get enough rest, eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. Exercise, too, can help relieve stress and boost your mood. It can also be difficult to concentrate and focus, so don’t overextend yourself. Make an achievable “to do” list for yourself and stick to it. And remember that your grief support is unique to you. It may quiet down at times and resurface at other, like on your loved one’s birthday or around holidays. Those moments can be painful, but they’re part of the normal grieving process.
Finally, be careful with what you say to yourself and others about your loss. Many people don’t know how to respond when someone is bereaved, and they may say things that are insensitive or hurtful. If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed by your grief, consider talking to a counselor who specializes in complicated or prolonged grieving.
If the intensity of your feelings keeps you from functioning normally, consider seeking professional help. Grief counseling, available at hospitals, hospices, and funeral homes or through health insurance or employee assistance programs, can be beneficial. Using spiritual rituals like attending church services, praying, or meditating can provide comfort. Joining a bereavement support group can also offer solace.