Finding healthy ways to cope with grief is challenging, especially with all the raw emotions that you may be experiencing. It’s vital to your physical and mental health that you allow yourself time and opportunity to embrace and work through the grieving process. Resistance to this naturally occurring emotional response will only further devastate you and delay your ability to heal properly. Here are some tips that will help you cope with your grief and boost your healing:
Allow yourself space, time and opportunity to feel the wide range of emotions that take place. It’s ok to feel the pain, sadness and anger of loss. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Everyone has their own unique way of mourning. Don’t beat yourself up about experiencing these feelings, and don’t rush yourself through the healing process. Whether you take time each day to sit alone and think about your loss, scream into a pillow, journal, or write a letter; give yourself approval to let out these powerful emotions so that you can find relief.
Be aware that grief fluctuates. One week your grief may feel unbearably overwhelming, followed by a week that is more controllable. This is not unusual. These variations can be heightened when happy or sad memories are triggered, or when a birthday or anniversary occurs. Allow yourself some flexibility to embrace these cycles so that you don’t overexert yourself.
Talk about it. Loss stimulates an extreme level of pain and shock that causes some to shut down, making it hard to express their feelings and emotions. During times of such devastation, a listening ear is beneficial. Work hard to keep the lines of communication open with family, friends or even support groups and counseling. This will help relieve your distress and progress healing by offering you reassurance, security and guidance.
Introduce yourself to creative coping. When facing loss and mourning the last thing on your mind is having fun. However, as you evolve through the stages of grief so will your perspectives on life and mortality. You may find that it becomes easier to celebrate the happy memories, rather than focus on regret. In the past, I have had many clients explore the creative side of their grief through composing music, poetry, art, and scrapbooking. Creative coping works to transform your grief into memorial art to be celebrated.
Create a structured plan of daily life. Staying in tune with family and friends, enjoying your favorite hobby, TV show, and physical activity are all examples of day-to-day life routines. This will stimulate optimism, and nurture a level of normality while dealing with your grief in its early stages. Take care of yourself.
Forgive. Release any regret that you have about the past or the role you feel you could have played in preventing the loss. Freedom of regret or resentment allows space for good memories and peace to flow in.
Grief is one of the hardest occurrences each of us will face someday. Coping styles and healing times vary from person-to-person. It’s vital that you cope in a way that feels good and is healthy for you. It is natural to feel sadness when thinking of a loss, even years later. The intensity of these emotions decrease as time passes and as we learn how to manage, express and channel our emotions. If you are struggling to manage your mourning and need help making sense of where you are – you aren’t alone. Elttila is here to help guide you through the stages of grief. Book an appointment today to get the comfort and advice you need to promote healing and productive coping.
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.