Coping with Grief and Loss

Grief is a powerful emotion that can accompany any type of loss, including the death of a loved one, a divorce or loss of a job.  Becoming familiar with the grieving process can help you understand what you’re feeling.  Below are the most common stages of grief, and strategies for coping.

Shock/Denial:

After a loss, you may feel a sense of numbness and disbelief. You may even experience physical reactions, such as feeling faint or nauseous. 

To help yourself:

Surround yourself with friends and family for support. Being around people who care about you can help ease the pain.

Guilt: You may feel guilty about things you’ve said or done in the past.

To help yourself:

Recognize guilt as a normal phase of grieving, but try to put it behind you.  Focus on the positive aspects of the relationship you had.

Anger:

You may feel abandoned because someone you loved died and you feel like you’re left to resolve his or her problems.  You might also be angry with friends and family for not understanding how you feel. 

To help yourself:

Express negative emotions. This will help you work through your feelings.

Depression:

You may feel lonely and sad.

To help yourself:

Realize that experiencing a certain amount of depression is healthy. Feeling depressed is one of the first signs that you’ve begun the healing process. 

Grief is a powerful emotion.  Some people find it too difficult to face and look for ways to avoid it.  A good way to deal with grief is to work through the grief and express your feelings and emotions with people close to you. If you are having particular difficulty dealing with your grief, you may want to talk to a professional for guidance and coping strategies.

Call EAP at any time to speak with a licensed professional.  Even if you are not sure what your feelings mean, call us any time, day or night and speak to someone who can help you understand your feelings and emotions.

 

Helping yourself through Grief

Grief is exhausting and it is important to continue your daily health routines.

  • Eat a healthy well balanced diet. If it is too difficult to eat three healthy meals a day, eat four or five smaller meals.  Stick to healthy options such as nuts, veggies and fruit.
  • Get plenty of rest.  Try to stick to your bedtime routine. If you are having difficulty sleeping try a warm glass of milk or try listening to soft music before bed.
  • Exercise if you can. Try to move or exercise once a day.  This should include getting outside or walking for 30 minutes.
  • Communicate with your doctor. Make sure your family doctor knows what has happened so he or she can offer additional help and options.

Be Kind to yourself

  • If you desire alone time, take it as often as needed.
  • Give yourself rewards along the way as something to look forward to.
  • Look for small ways to pamper yourself.
  • A short trip can be a good break from grief, but be aware that upon your return, the pain of grief will be waiting for you.
  • Look for some new interests, perhaps a new hobby or resuming an old one.
  • Carry a special letter or poem for when the going gets tough.
  • Try to enjoy the good days and don't feel guilty for doing so.
  • Reach out to help someone else.
  • Learn to have patience with yourself. Remember that grieving takes time.
  • Know that you will get better and there will be a time when you can look forward to being happy again.