Grieving for a loved one and coping with grief is very possibly the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Understanding that it will take time and effort to heal is critical. Holding on to the past and your anguish is always an option, and sadly many people do, but certainly not recommended.
While time is a big factor in helping you deal with grief, and the amount of time is different for everybody, there are techniques and tips you can use to manage grief more effectively so that you can find a sense of contentment again.
However, it’s important to recognize that what you do with that time is the most important factor. Simply just doing nothing and avoiding your feelings while waiting for time to pass will not work.
Remember grieving is not about forgetting the person you’ve lost, but instead grieving is about coming to terms with the reality of your loss and what they meant to you.
5 tips for coping with grief
1. Giving yourself permission to grieve is critical
Remember: it’s OK to be sad about the fact the person you love or cared about isn’t around anymore. Allow yourself the freedom to explore all the emotions that may come up such a sadness, anger, and even happiness at the memories of your life together.
The biggest mistake people make when attempting to cope with grief is trying to avoid the unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions that are associated with it.
Another critical mistake is not allowing ourselves to smile or be happy out of feelings of guilt.
2. Honoring Their Memory
The death of a loved one doesn’t have to bring an end the love you shared. You can do something special to honor them such as hosting a celebration of their life, writing a letter to them, or lighting a special candle in their memory. Expressing your love to them even after they’re gone helps you feel connected to them in a special way.
3. Treating yourself helps with grieving
Do something special for yourself. Watch your favorite movie, go to the spa, have dinner at your favorite restaurant or order in your favorite food. Indulge in your favorite hobbies. Taking out time to give yourself something special will help lift spirits.
However, remembering to recognize your limitations is crucial. Don’t force yourself to do an activity you don’t feel up to doing.
And remember, allowing yourself to be guided by feelings of guilt because you are enjoying yourself is not helpful.
4. Acts of Kindness Help Coping With Grief
One of the best feelings is doing something kind for others. Sometimes when we grieve a loved one or are coping with grief, we can get so wrapped up in ourselves and miss the forest for the trees. Spending our energy and time on someone else is a great way to center ourselves and feel a sense of connection, purpose and meaning in our lives.
5. Get support for coping with grief
Grief is messy. And riding the roller coaster of emotions that come when you’re coping with grief alone can be difficult. Reach out to friends and family members who you can talk to you without feeling judged. Tell them what you need and be direct about it.
Life is too short to spend it suffering with grief. If you feel like you’ve done everything you can and are still struggling to cope with grief, find an awesome therapist for grief counseling you like and trust to help you navigate the roller coaster and find some peace.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.