Grief doesn’t come packaged in a neat little jewelry box. You can’t simply systematically unwrap it and away go all the scary, sad feelings.
Nope, it doesn’t work that fast or that smoothly. For some of us grief acts more like a Pandora’s Box. It can sit there a long time but when we dare to lift the lid, out flies all sorts of feelings.
Still, if we look through the tears hard and long enough, we may experience great joy and gratitude. As it happened for me when I founded Andelcare, loss may even propel us in a new forward direction.
The point is, grief is different for everyone. Here are a few of my thoughts in combination with tips from a great resource, A LifeCare® Guide to Grief and Bereavement.
Tips to Help You Identify Your Needs:
• Pay attention to your feelings. Allow yourself to feel anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety or even fear. But if you get too overwhelmed seek professional care.
• Find outlets that help you express your feelings. Try journaling, exercising, taking walks or artistic activities.
• Work quiet time into your daily routine. Make time for a nap, meditation or peaceful time to reflect.
• Don’t overbook your schedule. Try to avoid “staying busy” to manage. Instead, give yourself time to be alone to cry.
Be Patient, There Is No Time Limit to Grief
Even though our society seems to want us to “hurry” through grief, most of us know there is no time limit on the grieving process. Along with accepting the fact that our grief has its own time and place, remember to talk about your loss to friends, relatives, clergy or a professional. In addition, this is the time to let other people help us. Not only can they help us feel less alone and isolated, our letting them help us is a gift to them.
Also, grief can take a toll on our physical well-being. As a result, this is the time to be extra mindful if we are losing or gaining extra weight, can’t sleep or using alcohol and drugs to excess. Don’t forget some healthy exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Exercise also reduces stress and helps buoy the immune system at a time when we are more open to illness.
Tips to help you cope with loss:
• Expect it will take a long time to adjust. When death is unexpected, it can be an even more difficult challenge to accept.
• Rethink your priorities. Decide which tasks need to be done now. Break-down your to-do list into small tasks.
• Set realistic goals. Don’t be hard on yourself. You will regain your focus and concentration as you adjust to your loss.