sad senior woman looks out window

Everyone experiences loss. It may be the loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship, a divorce, or the death of a pet. And with this loss comes grief. It is the natural and often cathartic suffering you experience when something you love is taken away. There is no right or normal way to grieve and there is no neatly outlined timetable for when it must begin or end, but when you are faced with a loss and the subsequent suffering it causes, these three strategies can help make the burden a little more bearable.

1. Accept your emotions

Grief is painful, and to suppress or avoid the pain, people often try to run from it, drive past it, or numb themselves through it. However, despite your best efforts to set your grief aside, ignoring it is neither healthy nor helpful. One of the key steps to getting through grief is to allow yourself to experience it. Though you may feel pressure to be ‘strong,’ it’s okay to be sad, angry, or confused when you experience a loss. Being honest with yourself and others about your feelings is a fundamental starting point for dealing with those feelings. Similarly, if you find that you don’t want or need to cry, that doesn’t mean that your grief isn’t as valid or real as the grief of those who do. Allow yourself to face your grief in the way that’s natural for you and then actively deal with it.

2. Get closure

Some people view closure as figuratively closing the door on your grief-stricken life and moving on to your new grief-free life. Real closure is not nearly so quick and neat. You may never stop grieving 100%, and you may never be able to resolve all the feelings associated with your loss. However, for your physical and emotional health, it is important to wrap up loose ends after a loss and begin the process of moving forward. Getting closure means to achieve a sense of resolution or conclusion, and you can do this in many ways. Holding a funeral for or writing a letter to a lost loved one can allow you to express words left unspoken. Recording your thoughts in a journal also provides an outlet for private feelings and memories. Ultimately, closure involves trying to carry on by perhaps making new friends, starting to date again, or buying a new pet once you’re ready. This doesn’t mean you’re searching for a replacement for what you lost; it simply means taking a step forward into a new phase of life.

3. Seek help

Whether you’re grieving over a lost loved one or a recent divorce, it’s okay and often necessary to ask for help. Allow your loved ones to rally around you, to offer a listening ear, or to pick up groceries. It’s heavy to carry grief by yourself; confiding in a friend or loved one can make it lighter. If the grief becomes overwhelming, you should seek professional help from a grief counselor or therapist. Bereavement groups also allow you to grieve among people who have had similar experiences and who may understand how you feel in a more real way than your friends or family.

 

No one wants to experience grief, but love and loss are a natural part of life. When moments of grief hit, whether great or small, these suggestions can help you to manage as you move forward.