Are You Suffering with Grief + Loss?
Grief is unique in that it is natural, unique, and individual. Depression can accompany grief, and both concepts share similarities, such as lack of motivation, social withdrawal, and appetite changes. Depression influences self-esteem and self-worth. Grief, however, is situational and responsive to a life event, with a direct connection to the person, place, routine, loss, etc. Healing comes differently to every person.
Grief is explained by Psychology Today as "acute pain that accompanies loss." With the global pandemic still very much at play, grief and pain are an accurate response to the traumatic events, losses, and changes to daily life since March 2020. Our sense of comfort, stability, and safety has been rocked, and grief encompasses the natural emotions (sadness, disappointment, anger, anxiety, disbelief, confusion, etc.).
Not to be confused with depression or deep sadness.
Pandemic aside, there are many kinds of loss:
- Romantic relationship breakup
- Divorce from a spouse/partner
- Death of a spouse/partner
- Death of a close family member
- Loss of friend/colleague/classmate
- End of a friendship
- Death of a pet
- Loss of housing/shelter
- Leaving home for college
- Graduating from school
- Loss of job/change in career
- Loss of physical ability/functioning
- Loss of cognitive ability
- Loss of income/job security
Each loss deserves its attention and validation, as well as healthy healing. Perhaps the loss was out of your control, without your consent, and without a plan B in sight. Losses, too, can be your choice, producing the same sadness, anxiety, and struggle even when you make that call. The global shutdown kept many of us from leaning on friends and family, mourning unexpected and tragic events without support. Multiple losses of any kind can compound grief, and the inability to connect with others during a painful time can make healing harder.
How can you healthily move through grief?
Grief and loss can rip the rug out from under you. And it requires time, attention, and love to address. Here's how you can gain some control and embrace grief:
- Connect with others- Isolation feeds the grief. Reach out to friends, loved ones, support and allow them to care for you when you struggle to coddle yourself
- Be prepared- Expect flashbacks and memories. Prepare for anniversary dates and triggering times. It will happen, and it is appropriate to expect.
- Distract- Make a list of your favorite activities, the easy and enjoyable ones, and reference them when needed.
- Reminisce- Allow yourself the trip down memory lane. Invite funny memories and good times into your mind and practice gratitude for what was.
- Create new traditions- Try new things and in new ways to foster curiosity, mindfulness, and learning. Developing new practices does not have to include abandoning old, more like tweaking and reframing for a new perspective.
- Schedule time to feel- Don't run away from the expected and normal feelings. Set aside time to think and feel about the loss, giving yourself permission to do something natural and human. When time is up, utilize healthy distractions to transition to something else.
- Love in a new way- Grief includes finding new ways to love people and things no longer here in physical form. Practicing love for a deceased relative could look like visiting their gravesite, getting a tattoo, or sharing a legacy with friends and family.
Are you carrying the heavyweight of grief and loss by yourself?
Grief is a normal part of the human experience, and The Sassy Shrink aims to be by your side through that journey.
Please get in touch with a Sassy Shrink today. We're ready to help you understand what you're feeling, how it manifests in the body, and how to move through grief with trusted support and guidance. You can rest assured that The Sassy Shrink will dig in gently, listen to your fears, and show you how to live life more fully, more authentically, and more fulfilled.
For more information about grief and loss from the CDC, please click here.