10 ways to embrace Grief and start healing
Do you know the book “It’s OK that you’re not OK”? If you’ve ever grieved in your life (I mean, who HASN’T?) then you know this book. If you don’t, no pressure. Pick it up. It is essential to understanding you’re grief and giving you advice in how to deal with it. Without giving you the whole cow, I will discuss things about grief that I believe in and align with what’s said in the book.
Here are 10 ways to embrace your grief and find that balance that we are all looking for.
1. You are not alone.
First and foremost, you need to know that you are not alone in your grief. At any given moment, someone very close to you or near you is also experiencing grief. Find validation in knowing that you are NEVER alone in feeling what you are feeling. And if for some reason you feel that one person’s grief doesn’t coincide with what you’re feeling, take comfort in knowing that 100% there is at least one person out there who has experienced the same exact loss as you. Don’t believe me? Go on Facebook. Type out what your grief is related to – be as specific as possible. Did you find a group? Join it! I will be talking about peer support later.
2. Embrace grief – in all its glory.
Let me tell you something. Listen close. Fighting it will NOT help. Trying to move past grief and not “working” on it will absolutely not help. I have heard so many people dive into work or occupy themselves with a project right after the death of a loved thing, only to have the grief come back in full force later on in life. Could be months, could be years, could be decades. If you don’t embrace all your feelings right now, you will undoubtedly work twice as hard to process it later on. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry and pissed off, be angry and pissed off! Sit with those feelings. Talk to yourself and say, “I know why I am feeling this way. This is why: _______.”
3. Grief is an extremely personal process.
There is no right way or wrong way of dealing with your grief. It is your way! Don’t listen to what others tell you how YOU should feel. It is your way and your way alone. If you want to cocoon yourself for weeks and stay away from people, DO IT. Do you want to go clubbing every night, DO IT! Do you want to binge watch Netflix and eat ice cream all day, DO IT. I give you permission. Sometimes what you need exactly is just what your mind and heart are asking you to do. However, I give word of caution here. You need to work on your grief. As mentioned in number 2, you need to feel what you need to feel. So if the urge to burst out sobbing and crying comes on, pause the show and do exactly that.
4. Find creative outlets.
This is so SO important. When you feel such intense pain and you don’t know where to channel it, channel it into something creative. That can be ANYTHING. Below are some ideas:
- Write: Start a blog like I did and share your feelings. Or even take a scrap piece of paper and write it out. You will feel so much weight off after.
- Paint/Colour: I bought an adult colouring book, and that helped me. They sell paint by number paintings on amazon now. This is meditation.
- Decorate your house: Go to Homesense and buy as many pillows and throws as you want. Buy plants. Plan your decorations.
- Garden: Buy seeds or seedlings from your local nursery and plan our your garden. There is something so therapeutic about it and it gets you outside and moving.
- And More! Sing. Take dance classes. Start bird watching. Cook new recipes. Anything.
5. Love yourself.
The BEST thing you can do for yourself is to love yourself even more right now. You are hurt, in pain and suffering. Give yourself so much love. You need it. Make a list of all the things you can do to spoil yourself – have a bath, go for a walk, listen to music, cook up a storm, paint your nails, go to the salon, drive around for no reason, etc. Write down anything you love to do. Put it up in an easy accessible place. Go to it and get ideas of what you could do at that moment. I recommend you do one thing everyday just for yourself. You will feel so much better after.
6. Surround yourself with your peers.
By peers, I mean people who think and share your pain. It could be a grief support group that meets once a month. Or a group you found on Facebook. Or your best friend who knows exactly what you’re going through. Your therapist. Just surround yourself with anyone who understands your pain without judgement. Rally these people behind you when you need them the most. There are times when you will need them more than others, and hopefully you can return the favour to them one day.
7. People will say dumb shit to you to make you “feel better”.
I don’t know why, but people are uncomfortable around people who are suffering and in pain due to their loss. They just want to “fix” them. There is no fixing you because you aren’t broken. Grief is not a bad thing. It’s not a disease. It’s a natural response to what’s happened. What boggles my mind is that each and every one of us has gone through grief at some point in our lives – so people know about it very well. But somehow, when they see you are sad and expressing it, they get frustrated and want you to move on from it because you “are bringing down the mood.” That is not your problem. That is their problem. Let them say or do whatever they want. You just need to focus on loving yourself. When they make you feel bad about yourself, go to your peers. I bet they have an essay worth of dumb shit people said to them too.
8. There is no timeline.
You take your time with this pain and suffering for as long as you need. People will tell you that it’s been a year and you should have moved on already. If they do, here’s what you can do – acknowledge their concern: “Thank you for your concern on my well being;” set your boundaries: “How I feel is how I feel, and I don’t wish to discuss it further;” then redirect the conversation: “How’s work?” Most of us dealing with grief spend SO MUCH energy defending our grief. If they don’t get it, they never will. There’s no point in trying to educate them. The fact of the matter is, grief comes in ebbs and flows. Sometimes the water is still and you’re doing great, and sometimes it’s a hurricane. It doesn’t fully go away because grief is love; and you loved that person or thing so much. You will always think about them. That never goes away. Also, never feel rushed to start trying for another baby if you aren’t ready. It’s your OWN time. YOUR life.
9. Find your Balance.
Some of us who have experienced a sudden loss as what happens with pregnancy or infant loss, the pain is so intense that it cripples you. It is important to recognise your feelings because of this. Like I mentioned above, grief comes in ebbs and flows. One day you’re doing great, and other times you’re down in the dumps. It happens. It’s perfectly normal. However, you should watch out for symptoms of depression that could mask themselves as grief. Here are symptoms to look out for (Note: it is considered depression if you notice these symptoms for 2 weeks or more). If you believe you have depression, please reach out for help immediately. You are not alone.
- Feeling worthless or a failure.
- Feeling like you can’t do anything right.
- Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Crying uncontrollably at nothing.
10. In the end, all that’s left is LOVE.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Grief is love. It’s love with no where to go. You don’t want your love for that person or thing to go away. You just want to channel it into something else. I don’t believe in the toxic positivity bullcrap. It’s trying to turn the situation in a positive light. That’s not what I’m doing here. Our society is obsessed with that. Sometimes, there is NO positive light when it comes to death. I don’t want to hear that “things happen for a reason.” I don’t want to hear “at least…blah blah blah”. No, OKAY! No. There is no positive spin on my baby dying. Just know that you loved that baby. Just know that after the pain diminishes, the suffering goes away, and grief is finally manageable, all you have left is love. There is hope. It won’t always feel like this.