12 Weeks of Peace
Week 4: Coping with Grief
Grief is one of the most painful experiences a person goes through, and it can be particularly devastating if you’ve never lost someone before. For those who have never dealt with grief, or those who may not know the best way to deal with it, this week will consist of tips and resources to help you cope with your grief. There are so many different types of losses and ways to deal with it, but no matter what you’re going through, there are others out there going through the same. Don’t be afraid to seek them out, because you can be of great comfort to each other. Week 4 ends Part One of this series, Grieving. This is not the end of your grieving, but if you feel comfortable and accepting of everything we’ve discussed up until now, you are probably ready to begin taking active steps towards Part Two: Healing.
Day 22: Coping with grief tip #1
Take care of yourself. In the midst of extreme distress, the care for one’s physical well-being is one of the first things to slip. With the mental and physical exhaustion grief can have on the body, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself as best you can. Try to eat healthy, or at least avoid junk food. Get plenty of sleep. Continue to practice good hygiene. If you can, try to engage in light exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to run a 5k every morning. Do some stretches, go for a swim, walk around the block, do yoga. Anything to keep your blood flowing and your energy up, even for a short while.
Day 23: Coping with grief tip #2
Grief may be a journey, but you don’t have to take it alone. In dealing with the loss of a loved one, people will often retreat into isolation for fear of becoming a burden or unhappy company. But when people ask how you are or if you need anything, they’re asking because they care. Next time you’re having a particularly tough day, try reaching out to someone in your life who has said you can call them if you need them. Next time someone asks how you are, don’t feel compelled to automatically respond, “fine.” It will initially feel like you’re burdening them, but they want to help – they just may not know how. Be open and tell them your needs – whether that’s someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to sit with silently. Impossible as it seems now, putting what you’re feeling into words may help you understand and sort through it.
Day 24: Coping with grief tip #3
Consider grief support groups. As helpful as it is to have friends and family at your side in this difficult time, talking to people who have experienced a loss similar to yours can help you feel grounded and much less alone. Check your local churches, hospitals, hospices, or counseling centers for more information.
Use Grief Share to find local bereavement support groups. Thousands of people across the country meet through Grief Share every week, and this may be a great opportunity to find others who understand what you’re going through.
The Compassionate Friends is a support group for bereaved parents.
Share is a national community that provides pregnancy and infant loss support.
Ourhouse is a support site for adults who have lost a parent.
People react to loss in different ways. Talk to people; don’t let your hurt grow until you break down.
~via Hope Again
Day 25: Coping with grief tip #4
Resist the urge to “numb the pain.” In the moment, drugs or alcohol may seem like a tempting way to shove your pain aside for a few hours. But rest assured that when it’s over, your pain will come crashing back. Unfortunately, there is no short cut through grieving.
Day 26: Coping with grief tip #5
Find a hobby or activity you can fully engage in. What do you love to do? Reading, playing an instrument, hiking, cooking, fishing… Whatever it is, those in mourning often feel a loss of interest in things they enjoy. But these are the activities that are going to help you feel normal and get back into your daily life. If you can, try to find comfort and happiness in things that once brought you joy. If it makes you smile for a moment, you can count it as a victory.
Day 27: Coping with grief tip #6
Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you need it. This is not a sign of weakness or defeat. It takes courage to admit that you could use a little help. Therapists and grief counselors may not be able to wave away your pain, but they are trained in ways to help you manage. Whether you’d prefer private sessions or group therapy, this can be an excellent stepping stone on your path to recovery.
Day 28: Coping with grief tip #7
Realize that you are going to have bad days, and that’s okay. The commonly referenced “Five Stages of Grief” do not occur in any sort of conceivable order. You also do not “finish” one, and then move onto the next. Your emotions will come in unpredictable waves, and you are going to have days where something triggers you and you fall apart. The point is that you can recover from these setbacks.
Sometimes the purpose of a day is to merely feel our sadness, knowing that as we do, we allow whole layers of grief, like old skin cells to drop off us.