When most people think of grief, the loss of a loved one is the first thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, the problem with that mindset is that it can minimize other areas of grief.
Grief is about loss, in general. That loss can come from being let go at your job. It can stem from moving and “losing” a house you loved, or a community you were a part of. You can even experience grief when you lose a lifestyle you’re used to. That’s one reason why so many people have struggled with grief throughout the pandemic.
Once you realize that grief can stem from almost any kind of loss, you can start to accept what you’re going through and find ways to cope. Let’s cover a few of those healthy coping techniques that can help you through whatever loss you’re experiencing.
1. Don’t Ignore It
No matter what you’re grieving, the worst thing you can do is ignore it.
Emotions demand to be felt. If you’re trying to push them down, they’ll eventually “come up,” and they’ll likely be even stronger than before. If you’ve ever heard of the stages of grief, you know that acceptance is the goal. Don’t push your feelings aside, no matter how hard it might be to face them.
2. Find Your Support System
You’re not alone in what you’re going through. Everyone experiences some type of grief in their lifetime. Now is the time to lean on your support system.
Face-to-face interaction is one of the best ways to get through especially difficult times. Talk to someone you trust, including family members and friends. Even if it’s just to “vent” or express your feelings, getting your thoughts out there can make a big difference. It can be especially helpful to lean on people who are going through the same things; you know they’ll understand where you’re coming from.
3. Take Care of Yourself
At times, it can be tempting to crawl into bed and let the days pass by when you’re grieving. There’s a reason loss often comes with sadness and even symptoms of depression.
While it’s important to rest and give yourself time to process things, staying in bed all day won’t help.
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Try to exercise each day, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Enjoy healthy meals, and take time to de-stress with things like meditation or mindfulness.
4. Keep a Journal
This might seem like a specific “tip,” but it’s also a very practical, helpful one.
Keeping a journal throughout your grief journey serves several purposes. First, it gives you an opportunity to express your emotions at any time. You might not always have someone to talk to. But, even writing down how you’re feeling can make it easier to process things.
Second, a journal provides a timeline of your journey. You can look back on where you started and how far you’ve come. On days that feel especially hard or discouraging, that can provide extra motivation to keep moving forward.
5. Do Something You Enjoy
Self-care isn’t only about staying healthy. It’s about finding enjoyment in life. That’s why doing something fun each day, or something that relaxes you, will actually boost your mental well-being and help you deal with your grief.
Try to find something you enjoy doing each day. Maybe it’s baking a batch of cookies or playing with your kids. It could be painting a picture or watching a favorite movie. Whatever you decide, make time to do it. These little things can help you to see that life will continue to move forward, even throughout the grieving process.
6. Talk to a Therapist or Counselor
Having a support system is crucial, but sometimes it isn’t enough. If you’re really struggling with a loss of any kind, talking to a professional can help. A therapist can help you to fully process that loss and what it means to you. They can also help you to work through the stages of grief and to understand that your journey doesn’t have to look a specific way.
Don’t discount your grieving process, no matter what you’ve lost. Feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.