WHAT IS GRIEF?
Grief is a complicated process, which is why each individual is likely to experience it differently. In other words, there is no ‘right’ way to experience grief. For many individuals, the intensity of grief is likely to fluctuate and can be triggered randomly or when reminders of the loss are present. Other common signs of grief include:
- Disruption of one’s identity after experiencing loss
- Feeling disbelief about the reality of the loss
- Avoiding reminders of the loss
- Intense emotional pain (e.g., anger, sadness, etc.) following the loss
- Difficulty reconnecting/connecting with others after the loss
- Difficulty participating in activities/hobbies that one enjoyed prior to the loss
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Difficulty finding meaning in life
- Intense feeling of loneliness
Experiencing any of these signs can be extremely difficult for any person, but understanding how you are experiencing grief and how it is affecting your life is an important first step in moving forward with the healing process.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE STUCK IN GRIEF
Experiencing grief after a loss is normal and can last months for some people and years for others. However, individuals can begin feeling stuck in grief when the signs of grief seem to never end and begin to take center stage of one’s life. This can be a scary and disheartening experience, but it does not mean that it has to be a permanent one. Reclaiming your life after experiencing loss is not an easy process but with hard work and consistency, it is possible.
HOW TO PREVENT GETTING STUCK IN YOUR OWN GRIEF
Finding coping strategies that work best for you is a great way to start the healing process and can also help prevent grief from taking control.
Setting short-term and long-term goals is a helpful strategy to increase motivation. These goals should be established with creating a better life in mind, but should also be reasonable and attainable. With that being said, it is okay to start small and work your way up to bigger goals.
No matter how small the goal (e.g., getting out of bed in the morning, completing a household chore, going on a walk, calling up a friend, etc.), they each make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, and can be extremely powerful when kept consistent.
Self-care looks different for each individual and is another important aspect of the healing process. Some tips for how to participate in self-care include doing activities that encourage you to live in a healthy way, connect with others, experience joy, and relax. Self-care has a lot to do with establishing and strengthening connections with yourself, with your loved ones, and with the world around you. Prioritizing these connections during the grieving process is likely to provide the foundation needed to foster the healing process.
You also do not have to go through this process alone. Reaching out to or establishing a support system is an effective way to navigate the grieving process. Now is as good of a time as any to ask those closest to you for extra support during this difficult time. This support could look like asking friends or family to keep you accountable with your goals or just to be a person to talk to when the process of grief gets more or less difficult. The people who care about you the most likely want to support you in any way they can, so do not be afraid to communicate when you need their help. Additionally, support systems go beyond friends and family and can be found in community and psychological care.
Therapy is another wonderful way to establish additional support networks. Whether it’s seeing a therapist individually or participated in group therapy (e.g., by finding a grief support group near you), this gives you the opportunity to identify the underlying processes behind the grief and to navigate this difficult process with the help of a trained mental health professional.
While group therapy is not yet available at Heartland Therapy Connection, individual therapy sessions can be booked through the Heartland Therapy Connection website, by emailing Hello@HeartlandTherapyConnection.com or by calling 816-287-0252. Heartland Therapy Connection understands the importance of providing treatment that is unique to each individual and prioritizes it’s clients in a way that encourages people to build a life worth living.