October 23, 2019
Loss is both an inevitable reality of life, and an unbearably painful experience that can feel impossible to navigate. When you’re in the midst of grief, it can be tempting to succumb to isolation, self-destruction, and emotional numbness. For something that almost everyone will experience at some point in their life, humans have a hard time being adequately prepared to deal with grief in a healthy way. Though the process is never easy, remembering the basics of self-care when experiencing deep grief can help the pain ease and subside. Here are the basics of experiencing grief without putting your mental or physical health at risk.
Confronting difficult emotions can be daunting, especially during a particularly vulnerable phase of life. But pushing feelings of grief away and pretending they don’t exist will only exacerbate your pain. If you feel like crying, let yourself cry—holding in the body’s natural response to loss dishonors your emotional experience, and can delay the healing process. Accept that, over time, the feelings will become less powerful, and the feelings you’re having are normal.
Finding support outside of your immediate family and friends, who understand what you’re experiencing, is a great way to avoid isolation. Support groups usually consist of ten or more people, all of whom have some level of understanding about what you’re going through. It’s an opportunity to share your experience and emotions without fear of judgement, and also a chance to gain insight into coping methods that have worked for others in your situation.
When the mind is in pain, it can be difficult to make physical health a priority. Things like eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep can all fall by the way-side during a period of grief. But the mind responds to the way we take care of our body, and giving yourself some extra TLC can give the grieving brain the boost it needs. Exercise can help release anger and frustration, eating well prevents lethargy and risk of disease, and getting enough sleep is a universal key to mental well-being.
If you find yourself feeling intensely depressed or even suicidal, professional care should be sought immediately. But even if your grief isn’t this severe, a licensed professional can help you cope with loss. If grief is affecting your daily life, find a mental health professional in your area who can help you navigate your loss and implement healthy coping skills.
Understanding the natural process of grieving, and working through this process in a healthy way, is the key to keeping both you and your family healthy through pain and loss. Though it takes time, practicing the above methods will make sure your well-being is protected through your period of grief.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.