Knowing how to deal with grief when it comes your way will help you remain healthy as you walk through the stages of grief and eventually come out on the other side. While you may not realize it if you are currently in the depths of grief, you may not be aware that what you are going through is very normal even though it feels as if the whole world should stop, but doesn’t. Let’s see how we can make it easier for you through these hard times starting with what stages you can expect to go through.
Stages of Grief
Shock and Denial. In this stage, you might feel numb and completely disconnected while you volley back and forth between refusing to accept the truth and also coming to terms with your loss at the same time. This can go on for weeks.
Pain and Guilt. When the shock and denial wear away, the pain sets in and it can feel as if you won’t survive it. While you may be tempted to stuff it, run from it or cover it up with drugs or alcohol, it’s best to allow yourself to go through it naturally and completely, knowing that the severity of it will pass along with the feelings of guilt over what you could’ve done, said or responded to better.
Anger and Bargaining. When you start to feel angry, blaming or are making attempts to bargain out of your grief, realize this is the first indication that you are coming out of the deep pain. Make every attempt not to lash out at others during this temporary chaos and keep in mind that just the same as the other stages, it will pass.
Depression, Reflection and loneliness. About the time people start expecting you to “snap” out of your grief, you may still depressed, reflective and lonely. This could be a time when getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself to help work through to the next stage.
Acceptance and Hope. By the time you reach this stage of grief you might still feel sad from time to time but you will have longer spaces of being able to gracefully accept your loss and feel a sense of hope about your future. This stage will grow and improve as you work through recovering from your grief.
These steps can flip flop and you might skip some stages because grief is a unique experience for each person. Being aware of the most common stages can be helpful for you though as you find yourself feeling angry, sad, depressed or any of the other feelings that might come along with your grief.
How to Deal With Grief
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to accept that grief is a natural part of life. It’s not fun or pretty by any means, but it is natural and the stages you go through and feelings you have are normal. Give yourself time to grieve, what is reasonable for you may be different than what it is for someone else, but be gentle about pushing yourself out of grief too quickly.
Learn the stages of grief and monitor what you are going through so you can realize your feelings are okay even if they are something you would prefer not to have. As you are doing this, be diligent about keeping up with your self-care. Sometimes it can require great strength just to get through the day, but keep the minimal sleep, rest, exercise and healthy diet practices because a healthy body will help you get through the grief much better than succumbing to other types of illnesses because you weren’t able to keep up with basic health and wellness necessities.
Reach out to others including support groups. Oftentimes as well meaning as your family and loved ones can be, no one will really understand what you are going through the same way that someone else going through it can. This makes a support group one of the most important things you can pursue. If you can’t find a support group, contact a professional. It doesn’t mean there has to be something wrong with you to seek help and the help you get can make a huge difference in your recovery.
If you are currently suffering through grief, I am sorry for your loss. I’m not going to give you any empty platitudes or tell you I know how you feel because I don’t. I can tell you I’ve grieved and I do know how hard it can be to go through it. I can also tell you that there is hope that even though you may still be sad from time to time, you can continue on to have a fulfilling life even if you can’t see that right now. Stay open, talk to others and peace be with you.