As most of you know I lost my dad a little over two years ago and I’m in the process of losing my mom. I’m not entirely sure just how much longer she has with us but I do know that I’m going to cherish every moment I can. Everyone experiences some kind of loss. You may be confronted with the death of a loved one, divorce, foreclosure, a miscarriage, the death of a pet, the loss of a job, a serious illness, a painful breakup, or one of many other forms of loss. Grief inevitably comes with loss. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know where to turn when we are grieving. Today we want to share with you some healthy ways you can deal with Grief and Loss.
Learning to cope with grief in healthy ways is the best way to face any loss. Here are 14 healthy ways to deal with grief and loss at any age:
1. Allow yourself to feel. Whatever you are feeling is ok. Don’t run from your feelings. Don’t expect yourself to feel a certain way and don’t allow others to tell you what you should be feeling. When it comes to grief, feelings are never wrong.
2. Talk it out. Find someone who you can talk through your feelings with. The best person may be someone closely connected to your loss or it may be someone distanced from the situation. Just remember, getting your feelings out will help you heal.
3. Write down your feelings. Keep a journal or notebook on hand and write down your feelings when they strike. This includes positive memories, painful regrets, and everything in between. Write letters to someone else if it helps you organize your thoughts. (You do not have to send the letters.)
4. Grieve with others. Grief is tremendously personal, but facing grief alone will make the process more difficult. Connecting with other people will help you face the realities of life that continue after your loss.
5. Tell people what you need. Those who care for you are hurting for you and anxious to help; however, most people don’t know how to help. Figure out what is helpful for you and communicate that to others. If you need someone to listen without offering advice, explain that before you start sharing your thoughts. If you need someone to help with errands, just ask.
6. Cry. Cry as much and as often as you need and don’t feel guilty about it. If you don’t feel like crying (even when everyone else says you should), don’t feel guilty about that either. Crying is a healthy way to grieve when you cry on your own terms.
7. Exercise. You may feel like running away, punching a punching bag, shooting hoops, or spiking a volleyball. Exercise in any form is a great way to release the tension that often builds up with grief. Other forms of exercise can help you relax when you need to take a break from grieving.
8. Refrain from numbing the pain. You may be tempted to turn to alcohol, sleeping pills, or other substances to numb your pain; however, numbing your pain will make things much worse in the long run.
9. Rely on your faith. If you practice any form of spirituality, actively participate in spiritual things while you are grieving. Pray, attend church, or meditate, even when your grief makes you feel like you don’t want to be spiritual. Talking about your loss with a spiritual leader may also help you find solace.
10. Make something with your hands. While grieving, you may need something to keep yourself busy that isn’t too stressful. Using your hands to create something can provide healing in unexpected ways.
11. Make music. If music really speaks to you, music can be an effective outlet to deal with your grief. Pound out your emotions on the piano, or compose a song that helps you put your feelings into words.
12. Paint. Art is another great way to express your emotions. Even if you aren’t an artist, you may find comfort in expressing your emotions through a visual medium instead of writing them down or composing a song.
13. Seek counseling. Seeing a counselor does not mean you are too weak to face your loss. Quite the contrary is true, in fact. Seeking the help of a professional to help you manage your grief may demonstrate not only that you want to work through your grief, but also how important the person, thing, or relationship really was to you.
14. Give yourself time. Grief does not have a normal timetable, nor is there a set number of steps to master to move past your grief. Grief will be different for every person and your grief may be different for each loss you experience. Waiting for things to change is not a healthy approach; however, actively working through your grief can take as long as you need.
If you have lost a loved one or have experienced any kind of loss, how did you cope?