Grief is a combination of the feelings you may have after a hurtful event has occurred. This event could be the death of a loved one, loss of property, a divorce, loss of a job, or heartbreak. Grief is healthy as it is a way in which we learn to cope with a new reality. Depending on the situation, grief can be severe (affecting your regular activity) or superficial (you can carry on with most activities as usual).
Different people interpret grief differently. Knowing and understanding this is the first important step to grieving healthily. Create a safe space around you so that you can find comfort and the needed support to heal. Grief can teach us to be empathic with others who go through similar situations.
Everyone expresses their grief in different ways. Grief may affect your emotional, physical and spiritual health.
In going through grief:
- It is okay to cry and react in other ways that express your grief, until it subsides.
- You may temporarily have no appetite for food.
- You may be restless and have low energy.
- You may feel anger, frustration and guilt.
Here are some things you can do to deal with your grief:
- Express your emotions for as long as they last.
- Talk to someone you trust.
- Start to do more physical activities. For instance, you may go for 15 minutes walks in the morning and evening.
- Drink more water until you get your appetite back.
- Do what you love doing. For instance, go dancing, watch television, read a book or listen to music.
- If you need further emotional support, talk to your healthcare provider to arrange for a session with a mental health counsellor.
A listening ear, thoughtfulness, a shoulder to cry on, or a safe space to vent emotions can offer a grieving person the support they need. You can support by:
- Letting them cry.
- Letting them know they don't have to pretend that they are fine.
- Accommodating their need to grieve in their own way.
- Offering thoughtful help, like a meal, support with the household or business and care.
- Comforting them and avoiding words that may hurt more.
- Remaining sensitive to their body language and emotional state.
- Not stifling their need to continue grieving, regardless of how long it has been.
Express how you feel emotionally following your experience of loss. It's okay to take time to get back on track. It is also important to note that there is no specified amount of time to heal after a loss.
You may be able to continue with your normal life and grieve at the same time. Accept the help you are offered when grieving from your friends and family. You may need professional help if you find that your grief is overwhelming. If this is the case, talk to your healthcare provider about mental support.