21 Ways to Work Through Grief

We all face grief and loss at some time in our lives. It doesn’t matter what the loss is. Grief requires work to overcome. We are now coming to understand that the traditional five stages of grief aren’t always accurate. Each of us grieve in a unique way. We may have more stages or less, and the grief cycle is most often not a linear path. Here are several helpful ways to work through grief. They are not presented in any particular order. 

  1. Face grief head on. Don’t try to hide from the grieving process. You may succeed temporarily, but the emotions will come up, and you’ll most likely just make the entire process longer. 
  2. Allow negative emotions to come up.  Negative emotions aren’t bad. Being sad or angry is a perfectly normal reaction to grief and there is nothing wrong with feeling these emotions. Allow your emotions to come up freely and work with them as they do. 
  3. Understand you don’t have to cry.  Each person processes sadness in different ways. Crying is not the only way to show that you are upset or sad. It’s normal to cry when you are grieving, but it’s also normal not to. 
  4. Allow the process to take as long as necessary. Don’t put a timeline on how long the grieving process will take. Some people work through it faster than others. Whatever amount of time it takes is just fine. 
  5. Talk to someone. Find a trusted person to talk to. It can be a friend or spiritual mentor. You just need someone with whom you feel safe in sharing all your deepest feelings and emotions. 
  6. Know the difference between grief and depression. While we all grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time, it’s important to know when your symptoms are moving from grief and into depression. It is not a sign that you are grieving incorrectly. It does signal that it is time to seek outside help.  
  7. Understand that your grief journey is unique and you may not follow the “five stages”. You are a unique individual and your grief journey will be unique. It’s helpful to recognize the five stages of grief, but don’t expect that your journey will perfectly line up with five linear stages. It might, and it’s ok if it does. But it’s equally ok for your journey not to. 
  8. Practice self care. Make time to take care of yourself. No matter what your loss is it’s important to remember that you are still here. Find small ways to care for yourself each day. 
  9. Have a plan for trigger moments. We often face renewed grief when faced with certain triggers. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are big triggers when grieving after a death. If you’ve lost a job, you may be triggered when a friend is promoted. These triggers are normal parts of everyday life. Make a plan for getting through it. It’s easier to face the trigger when you expect it. You know these things will happen so plan ahead. 
  10. Exercise. Physical activity is a great way to get out of your head and get your blood pumping. A gentle walk or yoga is great. A day long hike is as well. Whatever you enjoy doing, just get out and do it. If you have trouble making yourself get active, find a friend to exercise with you. 
  11. Eat well. Step up your nutrition game. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Drink lots of water. Taking care of yourself through what you eat helps you to feel better. It will help you feel more motivated to get out and not sleep too much. 
  12. Get enough sleep. You don’t want to sleep too much (it’s a sign of depression), but you want to get an adequate amount of sleep. Insomnia is common during grief as is too much sleep. Adults need on average 6-9 hours of sleep each night and it differs for each person. Aim to get somewhere  in that frame each night for optimal grief processing. 
  13. Establish new routines. Routine is key for processing grief, but your normal routines may not be possible. If your normal routines included who or what you are grieving, make sure to establish new routines. If you went for a walk every day with your spouse, find a friend to go with you. It doesn’t matter what your routine is. Establish and/or replace routines as necessary. 
  14. Meditate. Meditate. Pray. Focus. Whatever you call it. Find ways to focus your mind on something other than grief. You don’t have to empty your mind of all thoughts. Just find a way to focus on something. 
  15. Seek support from your faith community. If you have an active faith community, seek support from them. If you are a solitary practitioner you can find like minded faith practitioners online. Seek out groups of people who believe and practice what you do. You can do the same if you don’t practice a faith. Find other people who don’t have a faith. The point isn’t the faith. The point is to find people who are like minded to give you support. 
  16. Find ways to laugh. Laughter is great for the soul. It can be hard to find reasons to laugh when you are grieving. Go to a comedy club. Watch a comedy show on tv. Read a funny book. Hang out with funny friends. It doesn’t matter. Just find something that makes you laugh. 
  17. Seek support for letting go of attachments. The reason we grieve is because we have attachments to the thing or person we lost. If there are no attachments we don’t grieve. This is why we don’t grieve every time some tragedy happens. Yes, tragic events are just that- tragic. But, we don’t grieve each event because we aren’t attached. Letting go of attachment doesn’t mean that you are letting go of love. It means that you are letting go of the view that you can’t go on without whatever it is you lost. This is very difficult to do alone. You’ll need friends to support you through the process. Good friends will be there for you.
  18. Leave unsupportive relationships behind. It is critical to understand that relationships don’t always last forever. Think about your best friend in first grade. Are you still best friends? Maybe, but maybe not. We get older and life happens and we change. Friends today may not be friends tomorrow. This is perfectly normal. When we experience grief we change. Alot. And fast. This means that you may grow in ways that friends don’t. Sometimes those friends you thought were great turn out to be not so supportive. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. You are just in different places. It’s ok to leave friendships behind. 
  19. Honor your loss. Create a ritual to honor your loss. It can be a one time ritual or something you will do annually. It can be something you do as needed. It can be a solitary ritual or one that involves other people. It doesn’t matter. Some faith communities have built in rituals for honoring loss. If yours does, make time and effort to participate. If not, create your own ritual. It’s important to mark and honor your loss. Doing so helps to establish the fact that what you lost was an important part of who you are. 
  20. Breathe. Sometimes we feel like everything is spinning out of control. It’s important to remember to stop and breathe when you feel overwhelmed. A simple breathing practice works wonders in helping you cope with anxiety. 
  21. Seek professional help. If you’re trying and just can’t seem to cope with your grief in healthy ways, it’s ok to seek professional help. Sometimes we need the extra support of a person who doesn’t have a vested interest in your loss. Seeking professional help doesn’t mean you’re a failure and can’t cope on your own. It means you recognize your needs are are respecting your own personal boundaries. A therapist, counselor, or grief coach three ways to seek outside help. Your needs may be for one as opposed to another. Either way, don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it. 

Did You Know?

If you’re reading this post right now you probably read my blog somewhat regularly. You may even be a subscriber. I would bet you find something interesting in what I write. I thank you for that. If this is your first introduction to me, how serendipitous! If this is you please feel free to check out my other posts (after this one!).

Did you know that this blog is only a portion of my website? Indeed, this is just one portal into my gift to you. You can learn more about me and my healing journey by reading the “Meet Michele” section. Living Moon Meditation allows me to offer you a variety of healing services. From reiki and meditation to oracle card readings and grief coaching, I have quite a bit to offer. Check it out over on my services page.

If you are struggling with areas of change in your life, grief coaching may be for you. Many people think grief relates only to death. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Death is only one form of life change. Grief is an intense emotional response to dealing with change. We can grieve the loss of a relationship or the change that comes from just about anything. I offer many different options for helping you navigate your way through grief. If you don’t see your ideal offer feel free to contact me. I’ll be more than happy to work with you to create your ideal coaching package.

For those of you who want to work with me more in depth and on a consistent basis, I have you covered. Patreon offers the ability to choose your level of support. In exchange I will give you dedicated monthly support to help you grow into your best spiritual self. I have six tiers to choose from ranging in price from $7 to $100. The value of your offerings exceed the price of each tier. Plus, whatever level you choose, you will receive the benefits of all the lower tiers as well. Check it out now! If you join me on Patreon now, you’ll receive a special offer. I am gifting a free elemental personality chart to all Patrons subscribed at the Chai ($18) level or higher. But you need to hurry. This offer expires at NOON on November 3rd, 2019.

10 Things To Do After Loss

Each one of us faces loss in our lives at some time. The type of loss varies, and how we respond to it does, as well. Each of us are individuals and our life paths will throw loss our way. My response to a loss may not be the same as someone else experiencing that same loss. But, no matter what loss we face, there are ten things we can do that will help improve our situation. This list is not in any type of rank order- it’s just ten things that we all must do when we experience a major loss. 

Get clear about what you want. 

This is not the time to make a major change without being clear on why you want to do it. Change may be good, but it may also hinder our healing process. Before making any decisions about how to proceed after experiencing loss, take the time to sit down and evaluate what you want out of life and why you want it. You’re less likely to make a decision that will lead to regret. 

Spend time understanding your thoughts. 

It’s common to have negative thoughts after losing something that we held dear in our lives. What isn’t normal is having all of our thoughts overrun with the negative. Take time to think about the things you say to yourself and others. Are they negative? It’s likely that some of them (any perhaps all of them) are. Think about these thoughts and where they come from. Even positive thoughts can be inappropriate at times. Nothing is all light and good. Evaluate where your thoughts are coming from and why. Doing so will help you get your thoughts and self talk on the right track. Remember, we all need a balance of light and dark in our thoughts. 

Find someone to talk to. 

It’s important not to keep those thoughts (good or bad) all to ourselves. When we have experienced loss it’s easy to want to be alone and grieve. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, we need to also have someone to talk to in order to help process our thoughts and emotions. 

Set a goal and work towards it. 

It’s likely that your self esteem has taken a pretty rough hit with the loss. It doesn’t matter what the loss is. Suddenly losing something transforms our idea of ourselves. Set a small goal and work towards achieving it. When you do you will start gaining confidence. Then, make another goal and work towards achieving it, too. Each goal we reach, no matter how small, helps to build our confidence to where it was before the loss. 

Honor the Loss

It’s important to honor the memory of what we lost. This is quite common when we have lost a friend, relative, or pet through death. But all loss needs to be honored. Did you lose your job? Have you recently (or even not so recently divorced)? Have you lost the idea of realizing a dream you had for yourself? Take time to honor that loss. When we experience a major change/loss in our lives, we lose the idea of who we are. By taking the time to honor and remember what we lost we can begin the process of healing and becoming our new self. 

Engage with others. 

This one is similar to finding someone to talk to. But talking to someone isn’t enough by itself. You can talk to someone and still be locked up inside without getting outside. It’s important to engage with others. You may not want to do this immediately, and that’s ok. But it’s important to get out and be around other people sooner rather than later. 

Practice Self Care. 

What is it that you like to do for you? That thing that you find indulgent and luxurious just for you? It doesn’t matter what it is. Do it. Even little routine moments of self care are critical. Take a shower. Brush your teeth. Get dressed. Go outside. Sit in the park. Spend some time alone in meditation. Depending on what loss you have experienced and whether or not others are dependent on you, it can be difficult to remember to take care of yourself. But you must do it. Self care is critical. Honestly, if this list was in any particular order, self care would be the number one thing to do after loss. 

Know that your feelings are valid. 

No matter what you are feeling after loss, it’s key to remember that your feelings are valid. If you are sad, that’s valid. If you aren’t, that’s valid too. Each one of us is different and we experience and process things in different ways. Whatever your loss is and whatever you’re feeling now, it’s ok and it’s normal. That doesn’t mean you should stay in those feelings forever. It just means that there is no wrong way to feel after loss. 

Ask for help.

You’re likely to have lots of well meaning friends and family tell you to let them know what they can do for you. You’re just as likely not to tell them anything. Don’t. It’s ok to need help after a loss. If you’ve lost your job you may need help with finances. If you’ve gotten divorced, you may need help with adjusting to living alone again. It doesn’t matter what your change is. It’s ok to need help and asking for that help is not something to be avoided. Remember how I said self care is the number one thing to do? Asking for help is a form of self care. 

Practice gratitude. 

Find something to be thankful for. There is always something. Spending time in gratitude is another form of self care. It helps you focus on what you still have, and that can be very reassuring when your identity and confidence may have just taken a huge hit. It doesn’t matter what it is, find something to be thankful for and express gratitude for it.