Losing someone close to you can be devastating and the grief can feel overwhelming. It affects how you feel, act, and think. You deeply miss what you lost, and feel sad, guilty, numb, exhausted, angry, or alone. You can have trouble focusing, sleeping, or dealing with the day-to-day grind. These feelings are a natural response to loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone mourns differently.
Grieving is not forgetting, and grief is not only sadness. Healthy grieving allows us to remember our loss and accept it peacefully, without intense emotional pain. It is a natural process that requires some effort. In the end, you must work to accept the finality of the loss, acknowledge and express the full range of feelings you have, and adjust to life without the person or object.
People don’t only grieve over death. They can also grieve over losing a job or ending a relationship, moving from an old home to a new one, or developing a chronic illness.
Cultural beliefs and traditions influence how people express grief. In some cultures, mourning is loud and open, while in others it is intensely private and quiet. Culture may even dictate how long family members are expected to grieve publicly. However, there are truly no time limits or proper ways to grieve. The healthiest thing to do is to acknowledge and accept your feelings whatever they may be and allow yourself to grieve in your own way and in your own time.
Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Be sad and cry, be angry, be happy and celebrate the person who you once had in your life, or be thankful that you knew them even though it wasn’t forever. These feelings are all OK. Embrace your emotions, don’t run from them, and don’t compare them to anybody else. This is your grief to work through.
Healthy Ways To Cope With Grief
Here are a few ways to deal with your grief in a healthy, positive manner.
Give yourself time to heal and accept that you will hurt for a while. Be patient with yourself and others. It may take months or years to accept the loss and the changes it brings.
Accept ALL the feelings you are experiencing.
Express — don’t repress — your grief. Sharing it can help lessen the intensity of your loss. Talk to family, friends, or a therapist, and do not isolate yourself or hesitate to ask for help. Join a support group for people who are grieving.
If you are not comfortable talking, try expressing your emotions creatively through writing, painting, or another creative outlet. Channel your feelings positively.
Get back to your daily routine. Return to your hobbies. Do things that make you happy. Plan some good times, and allow yourself to enjoy them.
Go outside and take a walk, or just breathe. Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to reconnect with the natural cycles of life and death.
Take your time when removing or packing belongings. Carry or wear a memento that reminds you of your loss.
Understand that there will be some days — birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries — when emotions will be intense.
Pray if that brings you comfort.
Celebrate what you had rather than mourn what you’ve lost. Remember the joys you shared with your loved one who is gone, or think about the lessons you learned from a past relationship or job. Be grateful for the time you had with that person, pet, or thing. Keeping positive will help you heal faster.
Get enough sleep. Grief-causing events tend to disrupt sleeping patterns.
Exercise regularly — by yourself or with a friend. Exercise releases endorphins and helps relieve sadness.
Eat healthy — good nutrition is vital for healthy brain function. What you eat influences your emotional state.
The only predictable thing about grief is that it inevitably follows loss. Grief is not a problem to be fixed; it is an experience that must be worked through and accepted. Eventually, you will heal and move on with life, and there is no demarcation that signals the end of the process.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if your grief is becoming too much to handle alone. Remember, it is a sign of wisdom to understand when you need help, and a sign of strength to accept it. Contact a mental health professional if any of the following ring true:
- You are feeling suicidal, hopeless, or wish you had died along with the person you lost.
- You consistently blame yourself for the loss or failing to prevent it.
- You’re having problems performing your typical daily activities.
- You’re abusing alcohol or drugs or engaging in dangerous behaviors.
Why Choose Rising Phoenix?
Rising Phoenix Wellness Services is a licensed mental health and substance use disorder Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Scottsdale, Arizona. We created our addiction and mental health treatment program to offer a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment where clients are embraced, not judged, throughout their recovery process.
We offer programming that is based on Integrity, Innovation, Confident Humility, and Mindful Leadership. Our Mission is to help people recognize the unique value of their life and improve their overall health and wellness.