Grief is an individual process, there is not a specific set of strategies to follow that will help everyone. What I have noticed through my work and personal experience is that we all find our way through by coping in a various of ways. In order to heal, we have to acknowledge and feel the pain. Although it is tempting to try and avoid difficult and upsetting feelings of loss and sadness, it only prolongs the grieving process. We have to be in it. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications with mental health such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
The grieving process takes time and is mainly a process of expressing and releasing emotions about our loss transition and adjustment, ways that support this process can include:
Health and the importance of self care
This is written about in practically everything that I read online and it’s not to be underestimated. Staying physically healthy with nutrition, fresh air exercise and adequate sleep and by aiming to achieve the best that you can out of those daily creates a supportive foundation. These can be built upon when developing more coping skills
Feel your feelings and try not to judge yourself harshly
Managing the thorny process of grief is difficult and when difficult emotions arise we may wish to avoid or deny them. It’s worthwhile allowing feelings to emerge whatever they may be, and giving them the space to breathe and be processed.
Making time for grieving your loss and time for your life
In early stages of grief, or at times when it is all consuming, daily living becomes really difficult. When I was grieving, I found it helpful to find time to give to and focus on my loss and time to do my best to focus on normal life. Not easy, however it did become easier as time progressed.
Aim to make meaning
Whether we hold religious or spiritual beliefs or not, if we can make some sense out of what happened, which is difficult in any death and particularly sudden violent death and suicide. If we are able in some way to put it into some sort of context or derive meaning form it then this may help us to feel a bit better and start to move onwards in the grieving process.
Commemorate our loss
It can be helpful in bereavement, to create ways of carrying on the legacy of the person who has died. This could be expressed creatively, or carrying on a pastime that connected you to your loved one.
Counselling is beneficial when managing any loss and in particular a bereavement. Feelings are frequently intense and working alongside a professional in a supportive environment is proven to be helpful and cathartic.