There is no one right way to grieve. Yet, there are many ways to grieve healthily.
If you are struggling with grief right now, it may seem overwhelming. You may not know how to handle your emotions or what the right thing to do is. This is entirely normal, and you should know you are not alone.
If you’d like some tips to make the grieving process just a bit easier, keep reading to learn some key ways you can practice healthy grieving.
1. Don’t Compare Your Grief
In the digital age, it’s impossible not to compare ourselves to others subconsciously. This is especially true when it comes to grief.
Naturally, you want to be able to feel like you’re not the only one suffering, and that many others feel what you feel. Yet, no two experiences of grief are ever the same.
Perhaps both you and your coworker were laid off from your jobs at the same time, but they are much quicker to bounce back. You may see this and think that you should also be able to get over your grief, even if this isn’t how you’re feeling.
When you compare your grief to others, you lose sight of the fact that grief is unique to you and your situation. You have no idea if your coworker already wanted to switch careers or if they had less of themselves invested in it than you.
This is true with whatever type of grief you are experiencing. Comparing it to others may only invalidate your experience, and that’s not grieving healthily.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel, regardless of who else may be grieving too.
2. Don’t Put Time Limits
While you may find it natural to grieve after a significant loss, you may not understand just how long this grieving process could take.
While it may bring you comfort to think you’ll feel better after a certain amount of time, such as a few months or a year, this may not be true. Your grief will take as long as it takes, and there is no set time limit.
Again, this is different for everyone, even if you experienced the exact same loss. Instead of fighting this and trying to get over it before you’re ready, let your grief play out as long as it needs to.
This acceptance can reduce your overall stress and help you to adjust your expectations from the beginning.
3. Intentionally Grieve
It’s normal to want to run from our more complex emotions, such as sadness. But when you don’t let yourself feel these emotions, your body will start to think of them as dangerous and harmful.
If you keep running from your sadness, when something inevitably makes you sad, your body will react by being on high alert and flooding you with anxiety.
This means your more difficult emotions become even more severe, which can cause an unhealthy build-up in your body.
To avoid this, carve out short amounts of time to allow yourself to feel your grief and sadness. Perhaps you can journal for a few moments a day, reflecting on how you’re feeling.
You may take a walk and think about those things you try to avoid or have a chat with a close friend. It doesn’t have to be long doses of intentionally grieving, but when you allow yourself to feel these emotions, your body will no longer register them as dangerous or bad.
Then, when you do feel them, you’ll recognize these feelings, and they won’t hit you as hard.
4. Seek Support
While intentionally grieving is extremely important, seeking out social support that may not surround your grief is also important.
Yes, grief support groups can be beneficial, and they are a great resource when you want to discuss your grief. There are also happiness retreats, such as with Karyn Seitz, which can help you focus on discovering happiness in your life again.
But, if you don’t feel like talking about your grief but still want to connect with other people, that’s a good thing too. You don’t always have to be talking about your grief while you’re grieving.
Hanging out with a friend or two and going to a movie or bowling can help you feel normal again. This doesn’t mean you’re avoiding your grief; it means you’re allowing yourself growth to move past your grief eventually.
5. Understand That Grief Is Complex
One of the most important tips for grieving is to understand that grief is highly complex. Sadness is not the only emotion you should or will feel when grieving.
You may feel it’s wrong to be happy or joyous at all when you experience loss, but this couldn’t be less true. Grief is a long process, and this means you’re going to feel many different things.
You’re allowed to feel anger or disappointment or be anxious and afraid. Whatever you feel while you grieve is okay.
The process of grief looks different through every stage and on every person. You don’t have to be constantly crying to be in grief.
Let yourself feel whatever you feel, and tell yourself it’s okay.
6. Focus on Self Care
When looking for healthy ways to grieve, focusing on self-care should be number one.
When grief hits you, there’s a good chance your life may turn into chaos and disorder. This means you aren’t focusing on yourself or your health, which can ultimately make you feel worse as you also have to process everything that is going on mentally.
To alleviate this, focus on your diet and nutrition, sleep schedule, and physical activity. These may be difficult to work on at first, but they will help you become distracted by something that can benefit you.
Grieving healthily means taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
Use These Tips for Healthy Grieving
While healthy grieving may seem like an oxymoron, it’s essential to understand that you can grieve in a way that won’t end up harming you.
Focus on yourself, don’t compare your grief, and give yourself time and space to feel whatever you need to feel. Remember, it’s a process, and you can’t rush it.
If you’re looking for more mental health-related articles, check out the rest of our blog today!