This past year has had me thinking a lot about grief and the different types of loss that we all have experienced during the pandemic. Lately, I find people sharing their experiences of what has changed for them since the pandemic started, some great things, but also some very difficult life transitions. Moving through the process of grief can be a challenge. Today, I am sharing with you some strategies and tips for processing grief and loss.
Grief is the normal response to the experience of a loss. A grief response could be due to the loss of a loved one, a sudden change in our day-to-day routines, as well as other changes in our lifestyles, for example, unemployment. Most often these types of changes come unexpectedly, which can prolong one’s ability to mourn, recover and heal.
It is helpful to become aware of the ways in which you may be experiencing grief. Grief can make us react in many different ways such as anxiety, distress, shock, denial, disbelief, anger, moments of sadness, loss of sleep, and loss of appetite. Keeping in mind that one’s reaction to grief varies from person to person. Also, some people may grieve for long periods of time, and some may grieve in short, intermittent periods of time.
Here are some strategies/tips for processing grief and loss:
Connect with Family and Friends
It is so important to lean into those who love and care about you. Although some days it may be hard, take the time to meet up face to face with people who can be a shoulder to cry on, a good listener, and sometimes even a good distraction who can provide a laugh or two.
Create Rituals or Memories to Honour the Loss
A great way to honour those that we have lost is to come up with a way that can make you feel connected to them, or remember them. For example, some of my clients have written notes or messages to their loved ones and placed them in a balloon. Together they would release the balloons with the messages as a way for them to feel connected to their loved ones.
Keeping a Journal
It can be helpful to jot down your thoughts and feelings as you process grief and loss. It not only helps you process grief but also keeps track of your journey through the grieving process. This type of insight can be very helpful to reflect on and see how far you have come during this difficult time.
Creative Expression – Art & Music
Self-expression through art and music can be an effective way to heal, and sort through one’s feelings. Creative expression helps allow a safe space for expressing emotions. Sometimes it is hard to verbally express how one feels, especially in children. Self-expression through creative ways can be difficult, but can also be one of the most effective ways to heal through one’s grief.
Seek Professional Supports
Sometimes it is helpful to talk to a professional about your process of grief, especially as it can feel very lonely processing grief. Processing grief can be a very confusing and difficult process to do alone, so having support can help you through your healing journey.
Do Things You Enjoy
Do not forget to engage in the things that make you feel good, or smile and laugh. These are the things that can really help with maintaining a sense of normalcy during such a difficult time.
The grieving process can be a very complicated, and scary process. There is no single way of processing one’s grief. Allowing yourself the time and space to heal is essential, as there is no timeline to work through the pain and suffering. Be kind and patient to yourself throughout the process.