Grief is one of the most uncomfortable emotions that a person can experience. Grief is uncomfortable. It’s an emotion that we don’t like to feel and yet, it happens whenever there is a loss. The loss can be anything from moving, a child going away to college, leaving a job or a death. Traumatic events can cause grief too. The following tips and steps can help you work your way through the grieving process.
#1 Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Getting past the emotions that come with grief doesn’t happen overnight. If you try to rush through the process, it will come back to you when you least expect it. Rather than being impatient with your grief, allow yourself to work through it in time.
There are stages of grief and you cannot predict when you’ll reach the next stage. Take a deep breath. Feel your emotions and don’t rush them. The intensity of the pain will fade over time.
#2 Practice Self-Care
During times of grief, it’s important to take very good care of yourself. Eat well, get out and get some fresh air, sleep when you need to and love yourself. Get dressed in the morning. Shower. Groom yourself. These simple steps help you feel a little bit more normal, human, and grounded. Self-care is important any time, but it’s particularly important when you’re grieving.
#3 Talk About It
Talking about the emotions you’re feeling, why you’re feeling them, and what you want can be difficult. It can also be tremendously helpful. Sometimes it can be tricky to find a good person to talk to. For example, when there’s a loss other family members may also be grieving and not ready or able to talk about it.
If you cannot find a friend or family member to talk to, consider a grief counselor, support group, or an online grief and loss forum. It’s important to express your thoughts and feelings. Talking helps you to process your emotions and get through the grief process.
#4 Reach Out for Expert Help
There are experienced grief counselors and support groups. If you feel like you’re getting stuck in your grief or that you need more than your friends and family are able to provide, please find an expert to help you. Keep in mind that finding a grief counselor may be a process. Consider visiting and talking to a few counselors. Different therapists have different approaches. It’s good to find the right person to help you.
#5 Expect a Range of Emotions
Grief isn’t just sadness. It’s anger, overwhelm, denial, and so much more. And the grief process isn’t linear. You may feel angry today, sad tomorrow, and then angry again. While there is definitely a grief process, everyone experiences it a bit differently. Even if you’ve been through the process before, it will be different each time. You cannot predict how you’ll feel so it’s important to expect and accept a range of emotions. It’s okay, you’re not crazy. You’re grieving.
#6 Allow the Emotions to Exist
Because grief is uncomfortable, you may try to push the difficult feelings away. You may feel that you don’t have time to focus on your needs. Others are depending on you so you set your feelings aside and ignore them as much as possible. “I’ll deal with them later,” is a common statement for people going through grief. You’ll move through the process more effectively if you allow the emotions to exist.
That doesn’t mean you have to allow them to consume your day. You can, however, give the emotion attention and time. For example, if you’re feeling sad today, you can give yourself 20 minutes to be sad, to cry, and to grieve. Then you can get back to what you need to do.
#7 Look to the Future
Find something in your future to look forward to. It might be a trip, a season or a holiday. You might look forward to time with friends or some time away for yourself. The event doesn’t have to be huge and significant. You can look forward to a book being released, a hot bath, or lunch with friends. The point is to find something in your life, in your future, that you can get excited about. This excitement will help you transition out of the grieving process and back into your life.
#8 Find Gratitude
Even in the darkest times, there is something to be grateful for. When you’re ready, start looking for those things to be grateful for. Look for the silver lining in the situation. Explore the people and things that you have in your life. There is gratitude to be found. This step helps you feel connected to the people in your life. It helps you feel hopeful and it can give you the strength you need to grieve.
#9 Allow Yourself to Experience Joy
As the days go by and you’re working through your grief, find small ways to experience joy. It may feel wrong to feel joy when something bad has happened. However, you deserve to feel joy and it will help you reconnect with the life you were living before the grief. Listen to a song you love. Go for a hike in nature. Play with a puppy or go have lunch with a funny friend. Joy and grief can exist side by side.
#10 Go with the Flow of Emotions
Go with the emotions as they come up. It’s easier to go with the flow than against it. Know that the feelings don’t go away totally, especially when you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one. You will always miss that person. You may find yourself grieving for them years after they’ve gone. But the intensity of your grief fades and becomes more manageable.
Grief is part of being human. It’s something that everyone experiences. Embrace these tips and steps and work through your process. You’ll get through it and you can be there for others.