The loss of someone or something that you love, or even care deeply for, is a very painful ordeal. Grief is a completely natural response to that loss. Grief doesn’t only happen when someone dies. It can be caused by any traumatic event, significant loss, or life altering event. Although sadness is the most talked about emotion involved, grief actually involves a number of different feelings, which are all normal depending on what sort of loss you have suffered. Throughout the grieving process you may experience feelings such as guilt, anger, sadness, fear, disbelief, depression, or even a feeling of numbness towards everything. All of these things are a part of grieving.Grief is a deeply personal experience that is different for not only each person, but each loss as well. It may take the form of a deep, abiding sadness that seems as if it will never go away or it may come in waves where times of relative calm and peace are abruptly shattered by overpowering emotions. However grief manifests itself for you, know that it is a normal and necessary part of the healing process and that there are steps you can take to help cope with the pain. There are no such things as right and wrong ways to grieve and once you come to terms with your grief, the healing process begins.
Take Time for Yourself
Emotional pain is sometimes so intense that it feels physical and in many ways the grieving process is similar to recovering from a physical injury. There will be good days and bad, progress and backslides. Recognize that you have limits and compartmentalize your responsibilities. Separate those things that have to be done from those that don’t require immediate attention and allow yourself time to heal. Don’t seclude yourself, but if you can’t stick to your normal schedule, don’t be afraid to rearrange or even cancel commitments so you have time for yourself as well.
Avoid Major Decisions
Grief can greatly affect your judgment and it is sometime difficult to see past the pain that you are experiencing. Making impulsive decisions, such as moving or changing jobs can have far reaching effects that you may regret later. If you have to make life altering decisions, discuss them with a trusted friend or a financial advisor.
Take Care of Yourself
Grief can take a physical, as well as emotional toll on your body. Proper nutrition, rest, and exercise are all essential to healing. If you don’t feel hungry, eat several small meals rather than one large one. It’s tempting to let your appearance go when you feel sad, but make yourself get up, shower, put on make-up, shave, or whatever your normal morning routine would be. When you look better, you almost always feel better.
Express your Feelings
Pain that is repressed often festers and grows and it needs to be expressed in order to heal. If friends ask what you need, tell them that you just need them to listen. If there is no one that you feel close to, speak with a counselor or a member of the clergy. Journaling is another great way to get your feelings out in the open. Writing things down in a journal often give you a clearer picture of your emotions and it gives you an outlet that is strictly personal. When words won’t come, artistic outlets such as sculpting or painting can sometime help communicate what you are feeling. Expressing your emotions creatively can bring clarity and insight into emotions that you may not even be aware of.
Allow yourself to have Fun
Grieving is painful, but that doesn’t mean that you should never have fun. Although you may feel like isolating yourself, go see a movie or go out with an old friend. You should avoid using alcohol or other drugs in an attempt to numb the pain however. Resuming some of the activities that you previously enjoyed is an important step in the healing process. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about having fun.
There are many ways to cope with grief and they are as highly personalized as the grieving process itself. The most important part of healing is to allow yourself to grieve and come to terms with your loss. Ignoring the pain or pretending it isn’t there will only prolong your suffering. If you feel that you are unable to come to terms with your grief, you should speak with a professional therapist who can help you through your difficult times.