LIFE & HEALTH CHALLENGES
Grief or Bereavement
Has the loss of a loved one left you feeling numb and bereft, lost, in shock, anxious, depressed, stressed, feeling isolated, unconfident, unable to sleep or eat?
There is no right or wrong way to live with grief, but there are ways to ease the aching void and find your equilibrium again.
What is grief?
- Grief is a profound and complex series of mixed emotions that follow the loss of a loved one in your life.
- It can be someone you loved very deeply, your absolute everything, or someone you knew in your community.
- It can be expected or unexpected.
- Either way, it can affect you and your family members, friends, colleagues and the extended community in a range of ways.
If you are dealing with grief
1. REALISE THAT EVERYONE DEALS WITH GRIEF DIFFERENTLY
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Indeed, members of a family or community will often react very differently. Some people want solitude, while others won’t want to be alone. Some people want to talk about a loved one, while others might find conversations too difficult. Some people become oversensitive to everything, while others are oblivious to all but their own thoughts and feelings. Don’t compare your grief experience with other people’s grief experiences. Everyone’s finding their own way to live with it.
2. EXPECT TO FEEL MIXED EMOTIONS
Grief is complicated and changeable. Your heart might feel like it’s breaking. One minute you might be feeling bewildered and bereft, the next minute you’re feeling deeply sad or deeply angry. And sometimes you might feel relieved and pleased (and perhaps guilty) that your loved one is no longer suffering. All of these emotions are completely normal.
3. ASK FOR HELP
Grief is very difficult to live with all by ourselves. It’s important to reach out and ask for help from people you trust. Sometimes it can be a good talk with a friend or mate. You could also join a local support group, or ask your GP to refer you to a local grief and bereavement counsellor.
While it helps to talk to others about your grief, it also helps to use a creative outlet for expressing and releasing all of those mixed emotions. Sometimes they cannot be expressed through spoken word alone. You could try writing and journaling, painting, woodworking, pottery or crafting. You could make music, dance or sing. Experiment and find the creative and therapeutic outlet that works best for you.
5. ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL SAD
Cry as much as you need to. Allow yourself to be quiet and still. Cry some more. Stay in your pyjamas all day. It helps to set some time aside for reflection. Take time off work if you need to. Ask someone to look after your children for the day. Don’t worry about answering the phone, emails, or running errands for a few days. And then cry some more.
6. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Do your best to eat, drink and sleep well. Exercise when you can. It gets the chemicals of our emotions circulating in our bodies and avoids these stress chemicals interfering with the functioning of our immune systems. It’s wise to minimise alcohol or illicit drug consumption when you’re grieving as it masks and therefore prolongs the feelings of grief. Try meditation or yoga to help calm your nervous system.
7. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
While your loved one is gone, you are still alive. It helps to do what you love to feel connected to yourself again. While it might be difficult at first, you will start to notice a difference in time. Some suggestions include: going for a bushwalk, being in nature, doing some gardening, getting a massage, listening to music, taking a warm bath, dancing, singing, spending time with your pet, other family members or friends, visiting a special place that is meaningful to you.
8. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Grief does not work to a schedule or a timeline. Grieving is a process. Feeling ‘better’ can take weeks, months or years. Allow it to unfold at its own pace.
Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our toolkit page:
- Keys to help you sleep better
- Meditation practices
You may also find comfort in some of Petrea King’s Podcasts
How Quest for Life can help
Quest for Life can help you work through and live with grief through our residential programs – Healing Grief weekend and Healing Your Life 5-day program or 1-day workshop Living Mindfully: With Grief. By learning strategies and techniques to manage your response to life’s events, you can regain your equilibrium and ease the aching void.
Fill in the Contact Form below and one of our Program Advisors will be in touch to answer your questions or to ascertain the most appropriate program for your needs.