Let’s talk about coping with Grief
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to change the way we go about our daily lives. With those changes, some of us are experiencing a wave of losses: economic, social, physical and emotional. For some, these losses may build up and lead to feelings of grief.
So this time we’re going to talk about Grief – a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. you may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight.
Coping with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. You may associate grieving with the death of a loved one – which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief – but any other loss can also cause grief. For example, divorce or relationship breakup, loss of health, losing a job, a miscarriage, loss of a friendship, a loved one’s serious illness etc.
Whatever your loss is, it’s your personal thing and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things. If something or someone was significant to you, it’s normal to grieve the loss you’re experiencing.Just because you cannot see the emotional wounds like physical wounds, doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering.
Symptoms of grieving:
While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal—including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious or spiritual beliefs.
Shock and disbelief: Right after the loss, it can be hard to accept what has happened or one can even deny the truth. You may keep expecting the lost one to show up, even though you know they’re gone.
Sadness: You may experience profound sadness, feelings of emptiness, despair, loneliness. You may also feel emotionally unstable.
Guilt: You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may even feel guilty for not doing more to prevent your loss, even if it was completely out of your hands.
Anger and Fear: Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry with yourself, God, the doctors, or even with the person who left for abandoning you. A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure.
So there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy ways to deal with this. And to have a better understanding let’s get to know about few Myths and Facts about grieving:*
Myth: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Ignorance will only make it worse. For real healing, it is necessary to face the grief and actively deal with it.
Myth: Be strong in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you’re weak.
Myth: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one.
Myth: Grieving should or shouldn’t last for a long time.
Fact: Every individual is different and so is their healing period. So there is no specific time frame for grief.
Myth: Moving on with your life means forgetting your loss.
Fact: Moving on means you’ve accepted your loss- but that’s not the same as forgetting. You can move on with your life and keep the memories.
Ways to Cope
While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.
- Acknowledge your pain. Denial will not help. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever.
- Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions and you having any kind of emotion is absolutely ok.
- Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you. Don’t be hard on yourself and please avoid comparing. It’s easy to compare ourselves to individuals who are coping differently with the current situation. Especially when we’re already feeling low, it can drain us of our limited energy and can lead to resentment towards others and towards ourselves. Instead, focus on your own strengths and coping strategies. Listing your strengths and issues you have overcome is an effective way of highlighting and celebrating your own ability to cope.
- Cry it out if you want to. Express your emotions. Talk about your loss, the happy and unhappy memories.
- Accept that many people feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving. Grief can be confusing, sometimes frightening emotion for many, especially if they haven’t experienced a similar loss themselves. So it’s ok if someone doesn’t understand it. But don’t use that as an excuse to retreat into your shell and avoid social contact. If a friend or loved one reaches out to you, it’s because they care.
- Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Even if you’re not able to talk about your loss with others, it can help to write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, for example. Or you could release your emotions by making a scrapbook or volunteering for a cause related to your loss.
- Fix your routine. At a time when life feels particularly chaotic, setting a routine is important and ensures we have a mixture of social, physical and educational activities in our day. Routine doesn’t mean rigidity, but it can offer a sense of control.
- Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically. Little bit of body movement through yoga or any kind of physical workout will help you.
- Try to maintain your hobbies and interests. There’s comfort in routine and getting back to the activities that bring you joy and connect you closer to others can help you come to terms with your loss and aid the grieving process
- Draw comfort from your faith. If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you—such as praying, meditating.
- Seek out support from the people in family and friends who care about you or even you can go for professional support.
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Havelock Ellis