Grief is a natural response to loss. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, pet, job or way of life. Other experiences of loss may be due to children leaving home, infertility and separation from friends and family. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.
Grief is expressed in many ways and it can affect every part of your life; your emotions, thoughts and behaviour, beliefs, physical health, your sense of self and identity, and your relationships with others. Grief can leave you feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable or numb.
Grief has no set pattern. Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. Through the process of grief, however, you begin to create new experiences and habits that work around your loss.
What you can do to help yourself
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling, or consider joining a support group.
- Take care of your physical health. Grieving can be exhausting, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet, exercise and sleep.
- Manage stress – lighten your load by asking friends, family members or work colleagues to help you with some chores or commitments. Relaxation and gentle exercise can be helpful.
- Do things you enjoy, even if you don’t really feel like doing them.
- Ask how they’re feeling. Each day can be different for someone who is grieving; take the time to listen and understand what they are going through.
- Talk about everyday life too. Their loss and grief does not have to be the focus of all your conversations.
While the above is from the Beyond Blue website I would like to add to it.
What to do if your friend or family member is suffering from grief and loss
- Be there for them. Don’t just say call me if you need me or if you need someone to talk to. Follow it up. You make the effort. Text them every few days saying that you are thinking of them both, that is that you are thinking of their deceased or missing person as well. Go to them and say what about going for a walk or trying out a new café. Old haunts may take a while for them to return to.
- Do check in on them. Make sure there is food in the cupboards, fridge and freezer.
- If there are children, make sure they have a chance to be heard. They are grieving too. But they may not have a great understanding of what they are going through. They may not know how to ask their questions. Have them talk about their lost one.