Finding Your Way Through Grief

November 3, 2015 - 8:18am

By: Ysanne Gabora, Counsellor, B.A. (Psych), M.C. (Counselling Psych), Canadian Certified Counsellor

Grief is a difficult process and can take on many forms. For instance, it may be as unbearable as losing someone you love. Grief may be a breakup or divorce, loss of a friendship, loss of a job, loss of  a home, a miscarriage, retirement, loss of health, loss of a dream, or loss of a pet. The more significant the loss , the more intense the grief.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is a very personal process and everyone grieves differently. Some of the feelings associated to grief that you may experience include: shock, scared, sadness, anger, anxious, numbness, relief,or peace. Some may feel blame or bitterness. It is important to recognize that these feelings are normal natural responses to loss. Face your feelings and express them in a healthy manner. You may have thoughts that accompany grief such as, "How will I ever go on?" or ask "Where do I go from here?", "Why is this happening?" So many questions.  Grief may also trigger old wounds of past grief and loss. There is no set timelines for getting over grief. Working through these difficult thoughts and emotions is essential so that you may heal and create a new beginning. There will be lots of ups and downs. It is possible with time to begin to see your way through grief.

Grief may feel at times like you are out of control. You may begin to get some control by doing some of the following things:

- Get creative: write in a journal, make a scrapbook or a photo book, write a song or poem.

- Do something tangible like light a candle, organize your clutter, get involved in a cause, read a book.

- Plan ahead for grief triggers such as anniversary's dates or birthdays.

- Eat nourishing foods. It may be tempting to not eat or to reach for junk food, but grief takes a lot of energy so load up on good food to help fuel your body.

-Avoid heavy use of alcohol and substances. While these may numb the pain, they do not nourish your body or mind at a time when healing is of utmost importance.

- Get adequate rest.

- Exercise to increase your ability to deal with any negative emotions.

- Talk it out with someone you know and trust.

- Meditate or use prayer.

-Surround yourself with people. It's natural with grief to pull away from others and turn inwards but reaching out to others can help shift your focus or give your mind a break from your grief. So take comfort in others.

- Try to see the positives. This may be too difficult when grief means a loved one has passed away and nothing can repair that void but you can hold on to that loved one through remembering all the love you shared and good times. That is what will fill that void now and you will carry it in your heart now. Sometimes a loss can help us re-evaluate our life and what you want for yourself. For instance if you are facing a loss of a job, maybe now is the chance to do something you never thought possible and try something new. Or after having suffered an unexpected illness you may explore your health and make positive changes for the better.

- Be grateful. This may be difficult during a time of loss but remembering what you do have is important to recognize. This may be as something small as a warm meal or a shared day with a friend. Noticing what you do have helps the healing process.

- Be kind to yourself. You may need a pyjama day, a Netflix day, a day to eat chocolate, a day to sleep, from time to time because it is a process. Don't make difficult decisions soon after grief.

- If your grief does get to be too much, seek out professionals who will help you work through whatever grief you may be facing.

Living a Happy Life
By Catholic Family Services
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