Grief: Working Through Loss
Life has a funny way of bringing us joy and happiness, but also sadness and sorrow. Grief can be a source of deep despair, and sadly it’s a journey that we will all embark on at some point in our lives.
Grief is not just confined to the death of a loved one; it can represent any significant loss, such as a relationship, role, way of life, illness, or job.
Grief can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions, where one day you feel okay, able to embrace life as it is now, and other days you’re consumed by this sense of loss and incomprehensible sadness. Our experiences of grief differ; it is a personal experience, and there’s no single way of grieving or mourning the loss.
Working through the complexities of grief requires patience, self-compassion and support from those within your network (or professionals).
Here are four ways to help you work through a loss:
- Give yourself permission to feel: navigating grief and adjusting to life after loss can be hard. Allow yourself to experience a range of emotions without judgement. You may notice that you feel sad, okay, angry, guilt and denial; it is okay and normal to experience different emotions at varying intensity at different times of the journey. Allowing yourself to feel and express your emotion can help with finding acceptance and peace amidst the loss.
- Seek and accept support: Reach out to family and friends, they can support you practically so daily tasks feel easier to manage. They can also provide a safe space where you can openly share your emotions, memories, and challenges. Support groups can also be a comforting reminder that you are not alone in this journey, being in a group of people who have experienced similar losses can create a sense of understanding and validation. Support groups can empathise and share coping strategies, and perspectives that you might not have considered.
- Practice self-care: Even when it’s hard, it’s important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. By prioritising your wellbeing this can shift your attention from the loss and allow you an outlet to deal with the emotional impact of the grief. Engaging in activities that give you a sense of enjoyment and joy can provide you moments of respite and can also serve as a reminder that you deserve care and attention during this difficult time.
- Create a remembrance box: Creating a memory box that holds photos, letters, shared experiences, and items that remind you of your loved one (or what was lost) can be a comforting and tangible way to honour your loved one’s memory. Going through the memory box on particularly difficult days can provide comfort; serving as a way remember and reflect on beautiful memories.
Grief is not a linear journey; it is a journey that unfolds uniquely for each individual. We acknowledge that adjusting to life after a loss can be challenging, it can contribute to feelings of vulnerability. Grief can sometimes catch us off guard and hit us with unexpected waves of emotion. This unpredictability can make the adjustment process particularly tough. If you find that your grief is overwhelming, persistent, or interfering significantly with your daily life, you may find it beneficial to speak to a professional. Therapy can facilitate the exploration and expression of these emotions, without judgment. Your therapist can also help with developing tools to cope with the emotional impact of grief. As therapists, we can support you in the process of adjusting and rebuilding your life after loss.
Written by: Dr Bisi Laniyan
Clinical Psychologist at Sage Clinics