No matter how empathetic we may be, we never fully understand grieving until we experience it ourselves. And that can be a difficult process that uncovers feelings we didn’t know we had and reactions we wouldn’t have expected. Whether the loss was anticipated or not, it’s normal to experience a complex spectrum of emotions that includes sadness, anger, and hopelessness. Everyone grieves at their own rhythm, and it’s important to acknowledge these emotions, not suppress them. However, you don’t have to go through all of this alone.
No matter the circumstances of your loss, getting help with grieving a loved one is an important part of the process because it can help you heal and reach closure. Many people find this help among friends and family, and it cannot be denied that they have an essential role to play. Especially when grieving a family member or someone in your circle of friends, sharing your feelings and memories of the best times spent together does help.
But what if you still feel alone, misunderstood, and overwhelmed? What if your emotions fall more into the category of complicated grief or you don’t have friends and family to support you? In this case, reaching out to a professional bereavement therapist can help you cope and reach closure.
Things that can help when grieving a loved one
- Try talking to a friend or family member about what you are going through
- Look for local bereavement counsellors who can help you understand and cope with your loss, and navigate grief at your own pace
- Try mindfulness and meditation or listen to wellness audiobooks if you are having trouble sleeping and concentrating
- Your body needs proper fuel at this difficult time. Remember to stick to a healthy diet to offer it the nutrition it needs
- Take pleasure in your hobbies and self-care
Things that don’t help when grieving a loved one
- Don’t try to meet someone else’s idea of grieving. Everyone is unique and navigates grief at their own pace. You don’t need to go through the five stages of grieving or experience grief in the same way as other family members. Grief can also be delayed, inhibited, exaggerated, and complicated.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and expect to achieve everything at once. Start with small, achievable goals that you can try every day.
- Don’t focus on the things you cannot change and have no control over. Your attention should go towards making yourself feel better.
- Don’t assume that you are alone. Even if you lack the support of friends and family, a therapist can help you.
- As tempting as it might be, don’t resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking, drug abuse, gambling, or emotional eating. While they might provide a kind of momentary relief, they are harmful to you in the long run.
- Don’t neglect yourself. If you experience intense manifestations of grief for weeks on end, nothing seems to help, and struggle readapting to normal life, contact a professional bereavement therapist.