Ten Tips for Handling Grief
How to deal with grief
Handling grief is certainly not easy, but I have listed 10 tips that I found helped me through my own grief journey.
1. Be honest with your feelings. Emotions change quickly and unexpectedly in grief. Denying your feelings will not help with the healing process. Sometimes you feel empty, sometimes you feel enraged. Being able to “read” your own emotional state, will help in handling grief.
2. Find positive ways to express your feelings. Cry as much as you need to. I personally found a variety of creative outlets helped me work through my grief. I spent time photographing images in nature that spoke to my emotions. Although I had never written poetry before, I discovered a healing process in it. Many people have found it helpful to start a blog about their grief experience.
3. Talk to a trusted friend. Someone who will just let you talk and not offer simplistic answers provides a very helpful way to work through your grief.
4. Read books on grief. Books I found most helpful were books about personal experience. A Grief Observed is a classic that I really appreciated reading. However in grief, I know that even avid readers can have a difficult time focusing. This is one reason I decided to publish Seasons of Solace. It is a book of photos and short storytelling poems that speak to the grief experience.
5. Know that it is okay to ask tough questions. The “Why” questions are a normal response to grief. Honor these questions. I followed the outline of the Psalms of Lament to write my own questions and anger.
6. Seek out a local Hospice or GriefShare program. These groups are made up of people who are experiencing similar emotions and difficulties.
7. Do something special to honor your loved one’s memory. After my aunt died of cancer, several of her sisters regularly walked in cancer awareness relays. For several years after my husband died, I would buy myself special Christmas and birthday gifts. This is not something I would have done for myself, but he would have if he were living. I also made memory books to commemorate his life. You could create an (link) on-line memorial. Some people set up foundations in memory of their loved one to raise awareness for a particular condition (i.e. an illness) or situation (i.e. drunk driving).
8. Find something to be grateful for each day. In The Joy of Appreciative Living author Jackie Kelm tells about a gratitude study she performed. She found that people who wrote down three things they were grateful for each day were noticeably happier at the end of 30 days.
9. Practice healthy lifestyle choices. Experience has told me that this is not always easy. The last thing you will feel like doing on some days is getting out of bed to exercise. But a walk in the outdoors or a yoga session may be just what your body needs to support your emotions in the healing journey.
10. Give yourself permission to not rush through grief. Know that grief often takes much longer than most people imagine. Take whatever time you need.