Grief and Loss – Coping Through Difficult Times

Life loss and grief

Life is a melting pot of hopes, desires, joys, disappointments, sorrows, losses, grief. The journey of life is marked with highs and lows: from the joy of welcoming in a new family member, to fulfilling a long held ambition, to the loss of a loved one through separation or death, to health issues, and various other personal and professional setbacks. And feelings of sadness, loss and grief are inevitable.

Grief may be the result of personal or professional disappointments. Everything will not always go according to plan and falling short on our life’s goals can produce feelings of grief.

The possibility of a separation or divorce is extremely stressful and can leave us wondering who to confide in and who to ask for help.

We may decide to relocate for personal or professional reasons, however this decision can also leave us feeling unsettled and a sense of loneliness is not uncommon as it can engulf us when we start missing those we care about and who are not close at hand.

Similarly losing a job or moving on to retirement can impact self esteem and confidence often resulting in a sense of isolation and grief when we lose our meaning and purpose in life.

And it is not uncommon following a diagnosis of a life threatening health condition or terminal illness to end up feeling depressed with the loss of good health and lifestyle.

The death of loved ones such as a partner, a child, a parent, a friend, or a pet, can create a deep void in our life which can not be easily filled.

Feelings of helplessness and despair can overcome us in such circumstances.

Responding to grief

Firstly, it is perfectly normal to feel sad, frightened, or lonely due to a loss. There is nothing unnatural about it and crying is not a weakness, rather it is a part of healing.

Everyone has their own way to respond to situations of loss and grief and there is no set formula for this.  We all grieve differently, whether it is done quietly within our self or more overtly. It is an individual experience and it depends on many factors, including personality, ability to cope generally, experiences in life and the nature of the loss.

Professional help is recommended when the grief is unyielding.

Coping with grief

We know that coping with grief and loss is never easy. The following steps are recommended as ways to work through grief -

Sharing – Sometimes sharing your story with loved ones like friends or family members may bring out a sense of relief and comfort. It is important for us to connect with others at these times to minimise further detachment.

Caring for yourself - People experience different emotions at different times while trying to cope with grief.  Sometimes this can take a toll on overall physical and mental health and wellbeing. This is a time to take time out for yourself and to connect with your inner self:

Reading a book

Listening to music

Expressing yourself creatively by writing and drawing

Exercising when there is too much pent up energy

Travelling

Meditating

Drawing from your spiritual beliefs

This can be an opportunity to take up new hobbies like walking, swimming or gardening.

Try to limit alcohol intake, eat well before sleeping and try to have a routine in place. Having a daily structure can be very supportive.

These activities can be very healing and can help significantly while coping with life after a personal or professional loss.

Joining a Support Group – Joining a support group to build up a network with people undergoing similar situations in life may help with coping and being resilient.

Seeking Help – Don’t hesitate to reach out and seek professional support if it all feels too much. An experienced therapist or counsellor will understand your specific needs and will help you in working through grief and loss.

With proper self care and support you can overcome your grief.