Sunday, September 16, 2012

How to manage grief.

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As my readers may know I have lost two really special people in a matter of months. I was taking a look at Body + Soul. One of my favourite pieces to read on my Sunday's is 7 days 7 ways. I came across how to Manage Grief.

Everyone copes with grief in different ways and sometimes it helps to read how others grieve and get through the sadness. Here are 7 techniques to help with loss.

Honour your grief. It may be the loss of a job, a relationship, the end of a stage of life or the death of someone close. Give the grief attention. Ignoring it won't make it go away and it can surface years later or lead to issues such as depression or substance abuse.

Acknowledge your feelings. You may feel some or all of the following: shock, denial, anger, depression, numbness, acceptance, sadness, guilt, fear or emptiness. Everyone is different, so feelings will not be felt in a particular order.

Take time to remember. Don't rush to 'move on'. If you have lost someone, you may light a candle at night for them, carry a token to remind you of them or talk to them in your mind. This is fine. You can also laugh - it doesn't mean you have forgotten.

Look for support. There will be times when you need to be alone, but it is also important to share. Talk about what is going on and what you are missing. If you express your feelings, you are less likely to bottle things up. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

Look after yourself. Eat well, sleep and exercise. Take time off work if necessary, but not for too long in case you slip into depression. You don't have to "be strong". But if you are overwhelmed, set boundaries - allow a certain time to grieve each day or week.

Be prepared. Allow for the impact of anniversaries and other milestones in the person's life. These dates can reawaken feelings and take you by surprise if you are not prepared. Plan some sort of ritual or tribute to honour the person if this works for you.

Surrender to your loss. At some stage you will need to fully acknowledge that the person has gone for good. You need to say goodbye and let them go - perhaps through some kind of ritual. But then it is time to begin investing in your own life again.

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