Are you soldiering on through grief and tired of putting on a brave face?
I'm here to tell you that there are better ways to help you cope with grief and loss.
Grieving is a natural process that helps us to let go, gives us closure, and frees us to move on in our lives but it’s also painful, overwhelming and can be quite frightening as sometimes you may feel like it's never going to end.
The experience of loss is difficult to go through. Some people try to avoid it, deny it, repress it, and split it off from the rest of their lives. It can be the loss of a person, relationship, job, possession, feeling, pet, your health.
There are no rules to grieving however we often hear people saying
“You need to be strong”
"You cried enough; you should be moving on by now”
“Life must go on”.
I don’t know why it's expected that people should soldier on and pretend we are okay when we lose someone we love.
It hurts like hell and you feel like crawling somewhere far away from others so that you can cry and feel miserable.
The mind and body are connected. You may feel dizziness, generally disorientated, have headaches, suffer insomnia and these are all very common occurrences for people who are grieving.
If you feel exhausted and lack energy to get out of bed or talk to anyone, know that it is absolutely normal.
You may find yourself eating too much or nothing at all and this is quite common too.
Taking a shower or doing any activity feels like a massive effort and going to work becomes a burden. You cannot focus, your mood is low and sometimes snapping at people feels good.
If you were given the impression that you need to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on you may wonder if there are other options.
Well, I encourage you to start by accepting the fact you are grieving, and it is absolutely normal to feel shattered.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve and it is difficult to say what exactly could help to ease the pain and move on however there are healthy ways to deal with the grieving process.
Here are 10 small but powerful tips that can help you through this difficult time. They won't necessarily make the pain go away but bearing these in mind can support you.
The grieving process takes time, and it can't be forced or hurried. Some people start to feel better after weeks or months while others may need years until they feel they can cope with their grief, so it is important to take as much time as you need to heal and move on.
It makes such a huge difference to share your feelings with people who can understand your pain however remember that other members of your family are grieving too, and their process might be different than yours so allow them and yourself space to do what feels right.
Most people would be happy to help driving you or children around, do shopping and arrange it in the cupboards, cook a hot meal for you and your family or take the children out for a few hours while you are processing your grief.
You can find some good ones on YouTube with a simple search or get them straight into your inbox if you sign up for my monthly newsletter.
Loss and grief are parts of life and it is known in different cultures that people use music to heal from the pain of losing someone dear. You can listen to music that both you and the person that has died loved and remember those moments when you were together to celebrate their life.
Watching TV can be a good distraction when you feel exhausted and just want to lie in bed.
People genuinely want to help, and they offer support that comes from their own experience however your grief is your own and suggestions to 'move on' or 'get over it' might not be what you need.
Don't be afraid to allow yourself to feel whatever you feel.
Being angry, feeling sad, frightened or lonely is absolutely normal.
Crying doesn't mean you are weak and not crying doesn't mean you aren't sorry about the loss; you can laugh and enjoy life without feeling embarrassed and you don't need to justify your actions.
Often bereft people don't want to overwhelm others and think they shouldn't ask for help especially if they weren't a family member of the person who died.
If you're grieving the loss of a pet, your health, a job, a relationship or just an opportunity you may think that you should just get over it and your loss is not as big or important as others.
You are of equal importance as anyone else no matter your loss and you deserve to get support if you need it.
I encourage most of my clients to try writing a letter to the loved ones they lost to say goodbye or generally the things they never had the chance to say.
You could also make a scrap book or memory box of all the times you spent together; pictures, places you visited, little gifts you exchanged, notes with the things they said or reading messages they exchanged on social media. This is a great way to remember a lost one.
If you are still struggling after trying to deal with grief on your own and need more help you can try something like Online Bereavement Support Group where you can share your story and listen to others’ stories and learn to navigate grief and loss together. The key is not to isolate yourself.
Counselling for grief or bereavement can be really helpful. It offers a confidential, secure and warm space to explore your feelings and move forward through your loss.
As a counsellor I am trained to help people with their grief and although I don't have a magic wand to wave and make the pain go away, I can sit with you and guide you through it.
If groups are not your cup of tea and you would like one to one support, you can book a free initial consultation with me and see how I can help.
Soldiering on may be good sometimes but it is not the solution to grief.
These strategies I suggested above are just some of the most common ways to manage your grieving process. You may want to try some of them and see if they are helpful in your case however if you want to use none that's fine too. The most important is that you give yourself permission to grieve and allow time to heal.
Do whatever feels right for you but just don’t suffer in silence.
You don’t need to go through grieving alone, I can help.