Losing someone or something very important is one of the most difficult challenges in life. In most cases, the pain can be devastating. You may deal with all kinds of complex and unanticipated emotions, from shock to anger to deep, lingering sadness. The experience can also damage your physical health, making it a struggle to think straight or to even eat or sleep.
These reactions are, of course, normal. But though there are no right or wrong ways to grieve, there is an approach that helps make everything easier.
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Grieving is just one more big reason you have to take care of yourself. The stress of this experience can easily exhaust your physical and emotional strength. That’s why looking after your physical and emotional needs is important as you go through this challenging time.
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You can try to stifle your grief, but not forever. Facing your pain is crucial to healing. Shunning your feelings of sadness and loss only extends the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also give rise to complications, from depression to substance abuse to physical illness.
Tangible or Creative Expression
Expressing your grief in some tangible or creative way helps in processing your grief. For example, write about the experience in a journal. If a loved one just died, write a letter saying everything you never had a chance to say; make a photo album that celebrates the person’s life; or be part of a cause or organization that your loved one was passionate about.
Remember that your mind is connected to your body. When you are physically healthy, you will be able to process your emotions better. You can combat stress and fatigue by getting eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise. Alcohol or drugs can only numb your pain temporarily and set the stage for long-term ruin.
Hobbies and Interests
There’s comfort in going back to your old routine, doing all the things you used to do and enjoying them again. Connecting with other people always works to lessen the pain. However, don’t feel obliged to feel as they think you should, or even as you think you should. Your grief is a being on its own, and no one can tell you when you need to move on or let go. Don’t be scared of being embarrassed or judged by own feelings. You can cry or not cry, be angry or you can even smile and laugh at tiny moments of joy.
While resolving your grief and pain, be ready for anniversaries, holidays and other events that can trigger a return of feelings and memories. Most importantly, know that this is all normal. Again, recognize the pain and manage it, but not without expressing it, whether through words or action (such as praying).