Grief and loss are a ubiquitous part of the human experience, be it grief due to the loss of a loved one by death, or loss of relationship as in a break-up or divorce, even loss of friendships, homes, pets and jobs. Loss can occur suddenly or be an agonizingly gradual experience. In spite of its many different forms, grief comes to all of us, and yet walking through a season of grief can feel so very painful and isolating.
When grief strikes, what are some of the ways one get through the overwhelming experience?
Use Time Well
They say time heals all wounds, and while time is a necessary ingredient in healing from a deep loss, time alone actually doesn’t automatically provide healing. For the passage of time to provide healing and relief, it’s important to use the time to truly acknowledge the loss. Name what happened and how your life has changed as a result. Allow the varied emotions to each have their voice. Certainly there will be sadness but there can also be anger, guilt, regret, and even relief. As we allow ourselves to acknowledge each emotion and feel the depth of the emotion, it becomes less intense and overwhelming than it was initially.
Lean into Support Systems
As tempting as it may be to isolate yourself, it’s important to lean into your friendships and family relationships. They may not know what to say or may say the wrong thing but connecting with others during a season of grieving is vital. If you’re lost a central figure in your life, it can feel as if you’ve lost all your meaningful connections but remembering the supportive relationships that you do still have is an important step in regaining your sense of self. Making new friends in a support group or community who has experienced something similar can also be helpful. Being in the depths of grief can make it feel like you’re the only one who feels that way but, unfortunately, there are many others who have walked a similar road.
Do Tasks That Feel Normal
Often, after a loss, it can feel as though your life has been shattered and nothing is the same. While it is true that life will never be the same, and the future will look very different from how you imagined it would look prior to the loss, there are many small elements in life that are the same. It may be as simple as brushing your teeth or commuting the same way as you used to, but look for those parts of your life that have not changed and actively engage in those mundane tasks that can feel grounding precisely because they may be the only thing that’s the same following a major loss.
Talk to a Therapist
Going through a season of grief is the perfect time to reach out to a therapist. Having a dedicated time and space each week to honor both the loss and its meaning to you, as well as honor your own life as you must keep living in spite of experiencing such a massive change, can be so helpful in the healing process. A therapist can walk alongside you as you grieve, help you reassemble the pieces of your life and together, find a new normal that will be different from the life you had, but meaningful and beautiful in new ways.
If you’d like to talk to a therapist at the Adne Institute to help you through your season of grief, contact us to schedule an appointment.