Grief is a natural response to the loss of someone or something very dear. When you are grieving the death of a loved one, the loss of a marriage or other major life transitions, it can be a painful and lonely time. After a loss like this, it can be difficult to see how to go on. It might feel like standing in front of a mountain you’ll never be able to climb or going down a winding emotionally crushing road with no end in sight.
We share some clarifying facts about managing grief and offer some steps to get you on the path to recovery. The first thing to realise is that grief has both emotional and physical symptoms so please pay attention to your body and mind.
Emotional symptoms may include: denial, sadness, anger, guilt, helplessness, numbness, loneliness, relief, anxiety, and obsession with memories of the deceased
Physical symptoms may include: exhaustion, difficulty with concentration, sleep and appetite, nightmares, crying, social isolation, restlessness, aches & pains, anxiety attacks
Grief can get so intense that some people are not able to handle the effects of the negative emotions that can arise so these steps may help through the process:
- Let yourself grieve: This is the most important step of all! Allow yourself to feel the pain because suppressed grief does not go away. It can come back with more intensity and overwhelm you so cry when you need to cry, be angry when you feel angry. All these feelings are natural.
- Be patient: Grief is a process that takes time. As painful as this is, it will get easier; the day will come when you will remember your loved one without pain.
- Keep Busy: Getting involved in projects or even chores can help to distract you. Reorganizing and redecorating your physical space can be therapeutic, getting rid of physical clutter can spark joy to make you feel more like you again.
- Keep a journal: Writing your thoughts down can really help defuse the turbulent emotions you may be feeling. Don’t get hung up on being poetic or flawless, just write. Some feelings may be too hard to speak aloud, like anger or regret, so write down how you feel.
- Exercise daily: Keep moving. Grief can be paralyzing so you might have to walk or run to get the anxious energy out. Walking, dancing, swimming or doing any activity that gets you active can be very helpful. Exercise also releases endorphins that will lift your mood.
- Connect to others: Reach out and talk to friends and family, let them support you get through the grief.
- Get therapy: There is no correct way or length of time to grieve, so don’t be ashamed to seek professional support if you get stuck in your grief. Talk to a therapist, cover for this is available on select Hygeia HMO so please check to make use of your Hygeia HMO plan.