As I work with many clients experiencing grief, I have come to learn that grief can take on many forms such as relationship break-ups, losing a part of your identity, and losing loved ones. Grief is more than experiencing sadness. It may be filled with mixed feelings of regret, shame, numbness, a sense of longing for something gone, and sometimes even conflicting feelings like joy. I am sure there is a lot more to grief then what I have listed. I am writing this to help those who are currently experiencing grief or know anyone else who is. Every story is different and there is no “perfect” way to share and listen. But I know that many clients have healed by sharing stories of grief. There is a deep sense of connection when vulnerabilities are shared between people. I encourage everyone to listen, share, and try to understand. It can truly help. Here are specific ways to cope with grief:
- Embrace your feelings: Grief can be challenging as it comes with all kinds of feelings, many of which may feel uncomfortable. It is important to first be aware that these feelings are a normal part of the grief process and that it is actually healthy to grieve. Crying does not mean you are weak. Embracing your vulnerability shows courage. Allow yourself to experience these feelings fully without hiding from them.
- Obtain social support: It is often easier for people to give help then to receive help. However, remember that you are NOT a burden to those who care for you. Ask for help from family members, friends, and perhaps others who have experienced grief before. Everyone experiences grief differently. Maybe you want someone to share your experience with. Maybe you simply want a hug. Maybe you don’t know what you want or how to feel and that is okay to share too. Whatever it is, people are there to support you.
- Self-care: What rejuvenates your energy? What do you do that makes you feel like your best self? Whether it’s taking a stroll, listening to your favorite songs, and going out to eat with family and friends, there are so many ways to engage in activities that give you meaning/pleasure. It may be challenging to get started and it is okay to start slow. Just remember that you can still grieve and continue to engage in activities that you find valuable.
- Be patient: Give yourself the time you need, and grieve at your own pace. Everyone’s timeline for grieving is different, so don’t criticize yourself for not healing fast enough.
-Written by Sam Lee