Moving through Grief

Feeling better won't happen overnight. At first, it may be all you can do just to get through the day. But there is hope. Know that you will feel better with time, as long as you let yourself grieve. You need to grieve in order to heal. It hurts, but it is a normal part of healing process.

The first response

Your first response is often the most intense. You may cry a lot. Or you may feel a deep numbness or shock. Everyone grieves in his or her own way, but there are common signs of grief:

  • Having intense mood swings
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Wanting to be alone all the time

Give yourself a break

Try not to expect too much of yourself right away. It may be hard to work, take care of the kids, or focus on projects for a while. Give yourself more time than usual to get things done, since you may be distracted. Take time for yourself. Do some things that you enjoy. Go for a ride in the country. Read. It may feel like nothing brings you joy. But know that time really does help.

Know your grief process

Let yourself feel all of your feelings and go through your grief fully. The process is full of ups and downs. One day you may feel a lot better. The next day, you may cry again. Try not to think: "I should be over this by now." There are no "shoulds" to grief. Let yourself mourn your loss as long as you need to. It might help to think of ways you dealt with a loss in the past. That way grief won't seem so scary and overwhelming.

Avoid common traps

Because grief hurts, it's tempting to avoid the pain. Grieve now. Try to avoid these things that delay healing and cause new problems:

  • Using drugs, alcohol or food to numb your feelings
  • Making the loss seem smaller than it really is ("We weren't that close")
  • Working long hours to avoid pain
  • Trying to replace the loss
  • Thinking over and over how you could "undo" the loss
  • Staying alone to avoid sad feelings that come up around friends or family
  • Thinking you have to stay strong all the time