We are at a point of no return, and the best way to move is forward. Pilots call this time the point of no return because you are too far from home base to return for gas, and you are not quite close enough to the destination in your journey to feel like you have made it. It’s messy and uncomfortable. It’s where grief can live happily because of the murkiness. We are in a collective grief together with COVID-19, and you may realize that there is grief inside of you that is beyond that too.
It is important while experiencing feelings of grief to remember that you are not alone. There are people who care about you, even if that person is you. It’s hard to realize how to get through when staying put seems easier. Grief doesn’t go away, it evolves. There are ways to help the journey of healing continue. The journey is understanding that you aren’t going in circles; you are making steps toward healing. Grief is inevitable and coping is possible.
To help move through grief; here are 5 tips to consider:
Make friends with your grief.
Feelings need acknowledgement so they can continue to move through you without getting stuck. Grief is a heavy feeling so it’s more difficult to accept what is going on within you. You are not wrong for feeling the way you do. You are not less worthy of a feeling because it’s harder to get through it. You are valid in how you feel and what you think. Invite your grief to have a coffee or tea with you.
This can be as simple as opening up a space in your heart or head to connect with yourself. Get to know what is at the root of it for you. This is where the healing begins. Sometimes, it can be obvious why you have grief like; loss of a loved one, divorce, or job loss. Grief can also be more nuanced and may happen because of a friendship ending, no longer being able to attend events that were on your calendar, retirement, or identifying in a way that is not received well by people you love.
You can’t heal from a feeling that you haven’t accepted yet. Now is the time to make friends with your grief. Allow yourself to understand why it is there and embrace it with the same patience that you would like someone to show you.
Move your body.
Grief can be a stagnant feeling because it can feel like you are stuck. Grief’s best friend is a couch in many cases. It’s okay to feel tired and disengaged, but one way to start healing is to move your body. One of the best places to do this is within nature.
There are built in lessons everywhere inside the outdoors. Rivers do not trip over branches; they flow freely. Trees are not alarmed when leaves fall; they trust they will come back again in a new season. Giving your body the gift of movement, no matter where you are helps to alleviate the burden of carrying grief without respite.
Stretching your body to feel your blood and breath flow again is a simple, powerful tool to help you move through grief. No matter the choice you make on how to move your body, it is a solid step for your healing.
Write or say gratitude each day.
One of the best antidotes to grief is gratitude. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be saying one thing you are grateful for to yourself when you are having a heavy moment. The basics are food, clean water, and shelter. You can rely on those until you develop your gratitude practice.
Coming up with what feels authentic to you is a lesson within itself. You are healing, so go easy on yourself. If you are able, choose a gratitude partner. You can email this person 3 things you are grateful for before bed. Start with 1 if that feels easier. You can negotiate your expectations with your gratitude partner but stick to them. If you decide to share 1 gratitude every night, do that. If you decide that you want to share gratitude on Fridays, do that.
Don’t get hung up on the details to avoid the grief. Use the gratitude to help relieve your pain.
Choose a hobby.
Getting to know yourself is a helpful way to get through grief. Grief is not a circle that goes around and then goes away. Grief lives within you, and your healing is a spiral that seems familiar when you revisit pain in a new way. The more you healthfully cope the less pain you will feel when you face it again.
Choosing a hobby can relieve some of the pain. Part of the healing can come from selecting what you like to do. You get to use discernment and empower yourself with choice again. We don’t always get to choose what happens, but we can make choices to change ourselves in how we heal.
Because of COVID, you may have been granted the gift of self-exploration. Perhaps, you learned to love baking again. Maybe, you are a person who loves to put together puzzles. When you can take a break from yourself by doing something you enjoy, grief seems more manageable.
One of the most important things to remember while in grief is that you don’t have to do it alone. It can be debilitating to think that you have to do everything yourself. Even though compartmentalizing grief can be helpful during certain parts of your day, setting aside a time to talk to someone is incredibly healing.
A safe container or space to work through what is going on for you is a healthy way to move through grief. It can feel like sludge and being alone with grief can be overwhelming. There are professionals who want to help you see the best qualities in yourself and be part of your healing journey if you want to let them. It feels nice to know you have options available in your darkest moments.
Whether your grief feels complicated or straightforward, there is a person who can help. To get to the point of helping yourself, you may need to rely on someone else. You are worth the effort.
Grief takes up a lot of space and it doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. There are ways to find joy again. You can become stronger, healthier, and more empowered than you were before the event that caused grief for you. Grief can snowball and make you feel like you are all alone and nothing could go right again.
You have the power to change that. You can teach yourself to heal. How you handle the events in your life is up to you. Things will always happen and knowing that they will pass is an integral understanding in healing. You are not alone, and there is help.
If you would like help moving through your grief or processing through losses in life, we can help connect you with a therapist or other supports that might be helpful to you and your journey.
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We help people learn to build positive relationships through identifying and building boundaries with themselves and others.
Click on the links below for more information:
Young Adult Counseling
Support for Therapists
Help For Depression
Substance Use and Recovery Support
Trauma Therapy and EMDR