How to Deal With Grief

Woman seated on a bench reflecting

Facing up to the future

How we deal with grief following the loss of a loved one will be different for everyone. We all have our own way of coming to terms with loss and it will be easier for some, than for others. The length of time it will take for the healing process will also be different for everyone.

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 that you need 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.

You will have your own way of dealing with grief. Allowing yourself to take the time you need to come to terms with your loss naturally is better than putting on a brave face. Suppressing your grief and hoping things will get better is not a solution.

However, it’s important to maintain a keen awareness of your feelings and emotions as well. If you don’t, they could manifest in the future at a time when you do not immediately recognise them for what they are. Consequently, you could take the wrong course of action when seeking to deal with any anxiety or emotional pain you may now be experiencing.

If you have children, it’s understandable to want to remain strong and in control for their sake. Hopefully, there will be friends and family around who can help you with this.

Recognising depression following bereavement

During the grieving process, sadness and anxiety can take hold, as you slowly accept the reality that you will never see your loved one 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.

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 can all 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 new 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 new way of life, which you can resolutely accept as a challenge you are determined to overcome.

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