How to Deal With Grief

Woman seated on a bench reflecting

Facing up to the future

Coming to terms with the heartache of losing someone you love and facing up to the future, is something that can only happen when you’re completely ready. Giving yourself over to the grieving process can itself prove challenging, especially if you have children to support and other responsibilities to be aware of.

The grieving process

Following bereavement, it’s not a good idea to put any particular time limit on how long your grieving process might last. Whilst it’s important to heal and move forward with your life, it’s not necessary to impose any time scale on how and when you should expect to feel better.

Letting your grief take the time it needs to flow naturally will allow your sorrow to manifest of its own accord. This is much better than suppressing feelings in the hope they will go away. If you have children, it’s understandable to want to remain strong and in control of what is going on around you. However, it’s important to maintain a keen awareness of your own feelings and emotions as well.

Recognising depression following bereavement

Everyone will have their own way of experiencing and expressing grief. Inevitably, during the grieving process, sadness and anxiety will take hold as you slowly accept the reality that you will never see your partner again.

Grief and depression are unwanted reminders of your loss and if after a period of time you find that grief is stopping you from functioning normally, it may be that you’re suffering from ‘reactive depression’.

This is a period when a gradual acceptance of the situation should lead to a willingness to move forward. Of course, everyone will move at their own pace, but if recovery is not forthcoming, and the depression persists, it may be necessary to seek professional help to ensure you’re getting all the support you need.

Help with grief counselling

Grief counselling is a form of therapy where a grieving person seeks the support of a qualified counsellor who can help them to navigate their way through the changes brought about by the loss of a loved one. A good counsellor will provide a sympathetic, listening ear, offering support and understanding.

Having a grief counsellor to help with the different stages of loss during this emotive time can be beneficial, allowing the bereaved to understand and reflect upon their emotions in a healthy and sensitive way.

Talking with a grief counsellor will help unlock the feelings causing you to react this way. Any unyielding emotions that have yet to be expressed will be brought to the surface, providing you with the opportunity to talk openly about them in a non-judgemental environment.

If you get to a point where you’re ready to take some practical steps towards your recovery, you might want to consider a grief coach. Here, you will have the chance to explore new possibilities and goals you may have for the future. A Grief Coach can help the bereaved adapt to their new set of circumstances, providing a framework to embrace uncertain feelings. They should also be able to help resolve issues yet to be explored.

Having good friends who are ready to support you

Should therapy be something you feel you don’t need or want, it is important to have a good friend, or friends, who are ready to offer support when you have down times. Hopefully, these down times will become less of a feature as you come to terms with your loss.

Writer on loss and grief, Elaine Mansfield, provides a range of useful suggestions in her book ‘Leaning into Love’. She talks about ‘the importance of connecting with nature on a daily basis, upping your exercise regime and reaching out to others who are in need’. These are all distractions, which can help take your mind away from your grief, whilst achieving a useful, practical and healthy outcome in the process.

Writing things down can also be extremely beneficial. There is much to be gained from keeping a journal or blog, helping you to build a clearer picture of how you’re feeling day by day. Going back and reading over your thoughts and memoirs can also help you to see how you’re progressing, and how far you’ve come.

What once seemed an impossible journey becomes a way of life

As you gain the courage and independence to take each day as it comes, with or without counselling, coaching or medical assistance, your gradual recovery will be something that affords you a sense of direction and achievement. What once seemed an impossible journey becomes a way of life, which you can resolutely accept as a challenge you are determined to overcome.

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