When someone we love passes away, the pain we feel is almost too much to comprehend. There are many different stages of grief and different manifestations. Here we look at a few suggestions to consider when dealing with grief.
1. Understand that grief is different for everyone
It is all too easy to compare your experience of grief with others around you. You may be wondering why they seem to be coping better or how they are able to get back to their lives so quickly.
The truth is – everyone experiences grief differently. Your focus should be on yourself and what you are going through. Spend time with (and support) those around you, but try not to compare yourself to them and how they are doing.
2. Remember, grief is inconsistent
Grief can come at any time and in any form. You may be commending yourself on how much better you’re doing one day, then a song on the radio brings back memories and you feel like you’re back at square one. Sadly there is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for moments like this. All you can do is give yourself permission to feel. Accept grief’s inconsistency and be patient with yourself.
3. Spend time in nature
Many people say they experience feelings of numbness after a loss. This is usually because the pain is simply too much and the mind copes by switching off. When you’re feeling numb like this, it can help to get out in nature. Conversation, TV and noise in general can be overstimulating. Sitting out in nature can offer the peace your mind is craving.
4. Stick to a routine
It may sound simple and mundane, but sticking to some sort of daily routine can help you function. Make a checklist of things to do, such as shower, eat breakfast, go for a walk etc. and stick to it. Crying may even become part of your daily routine for a while, and that’s fine. Include it in the schedule for as long as you need.
Probably the last thing on your mind, but gentle exercise will help your body stay mobile in a time when it wants to curl up and stay still. Go for walks, try some yoga stretches or go swimming. It will give your mind something else to think about and may even help to relieve feelings of depression.
6. Practise gratitude
At first, the very thought of being grateful for anything may seem absurd. Try to stick with it though. Think about the times you had with your loved one and how grateful you are to have had them in your life. Be grateful that you can continue on your own path and maybe even help others on theirs too.
7. Have faith that time will heal
It can be frustrating when well-meaning friends/family say ‘just give it time’, but it is true. While the pain will never truly go, the sharpness will dull and you will learn to live with it instead of fighting against it.
8. Reach out for support
As admirable as it is to try and go through tough times alone, we all need support sometimes. Going through a bereavement is one of those times. You may find comfort in support groups, or you may benefit from bereavement counselling. Sometimes speaking to someone outside of the situation brings clarity.