HEALTH & WELLNESS
CONTINUING YOUR PATH
Although it feels challenging, when coping with grief it is important to remember your own health. Avoiding your feelings instead of facing them can lead to depression, or other negative influences and conditions. This stress will only prolong the grieving process, whereas confronting your feelings begins the healing process. Continuing to physically exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep will contribute to feeling better emotionally. Try to express your feelings in a creative way by writing a letter with all of your unsaid feelings, or make a scrap book of your memories together. It may help to plan ahead for events that may trigger emotions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Remember that grieving and coping is an individual experience, but your health is also an important factor in the healing process.
COPING WITH GRIEF
Grief is a natural response to loss and is a highly personal experience. There is neither a proper way to grieve nor a time frame for grief to occur within, and it is important to understand that this process can only unfold naturally and cannot be rushed. There is no “normal” reaction or a certain way you “should” be feeling, but there are 5 Stages of Grief as outlined by psychiatrist Kübler-Ross in 1969;
These stages provide guidance to help you understand and recognize why and when you feel saddened, angry, or in denial. However, not all individuals will experience all of the stages and some may experience these feelings not necessarily in sequential order. Grieving is an individual experience and how a person grieves can depend on a multitude of factors such as the nature of the loss, life experiences, or religious beliefs for example.
Kübler-Ross on the Five Stages of Grief: “They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”
RESOURCES FOR HEALTH
Coping with your loss in a healthy way can help you to continue your path in life. Reaching out for support from family and friends is generally the most important step. Whether it is helping with funeral arrangements or having a shoulder to cry on, accepting help from friends and family can lighten the burden. Your doctor, local hospitals, hospices, and funeral homes usually have information regarding local bereavement support groups, counseling centers, or mental health professionals. Sometimes seeking help outside of your network of friends and family can provide additional support and allow you to discuss feelings that you may have hesitated to share with others who are close to you. Religious communities and other faith centered communities can provide spiritual support through scriptures, meetings, or other mourning traditions.