We offer our clients counselling support through Lincolnshire Centre for Grief and Loss, but the following information may be helpful to anyone following a recent bereavement...
Coping with the loss of someone you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. We all react to loss in different ways so there's no right or wrong way to experience bereavement. But there are healthy ways to cope that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss.
What is grief?
Grief is the emotional and physical response you may feel when something or someone you love is taken away. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from anger or shock to guilt and distress. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health.
These are normal and natural responses to bereavement — and the more significant the loss, the more profound your grief may be.
Emotional responses to bereavement are often a combination of intense feelings. However, some people may struggle to recognise and accept their own emotions, which can sometimes lead to a feeling of numbness or apathy. These feelings may not be there all the time and intense responses may appear unexpectedly.
When bereaved, many people experience emotional responses such as:
- Panic and anxiety
- Feeling isolated and/or disconnected from reality
When processing loss, some people experience physical effects that they don't expect and - although completely normal - these sudden changes may worry you. You might experience:
- An increase or decrease in appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Physical aches and pains
- Mental lethargy or 'brain fog' (unable to think straight)
When you’re grieving, it’s important to take care of yourself. Although it may seem difficult, looking after yourself physically and emotionally will help you get through this distressing time.
Acknowledge your feelings. In order to heal, you have to confront and recognise your pain. Trying to avoid reality and your own emotions only prolongs the grieving process.
Express your emotions. Make a scrapbook of fond memories, write about your loss in a journal, or get involved in a cause that was important to your loved one.
Try to maintain your hobbies and interests. When you're able, get back to the activities you enjoy. This may provide an opportunity to connect with others and help you in your bereavement journey.
Look after your physical health. When you feel healthy physically, you’ll be better able to cope emotionally. Manage fatigue and low mood by getting plenty of sleep, making healthy food choices, and exercising.
Ask for help
Take your time, be kind to yourself, and know when to ask for help. The death of someone close is a major event in anybody’s life and accepting this change is often a lengthy and difficult process.
It can be helpful to find someone you trust that you can to talk to. This might be a friend, a relative, a support group, or even your funeral director - we're always here for you. You may also want to speak with your doctor or reach out to the support services in the 'helpful resources' section below.
- NHS UK - Get help with grief after bereavement
- Dying Matters - Coping with bereavement
- Managing loss on days of celebration - Advice from our funeral teams
- The Samaritans UK - Speak to someone today
- St Barnabas Hospice Bereavement Helpline - Local support services
- Lincolnshire Centre for Grief and Loss - firstname.lastname@example.org - offers a range of counselling services
- Baby Loss Awareness Week - Supporting bereaved parents and families
- Sands - The leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK
- Grief is painful, but it is a normal part of life and help is available to you.
- The bereavement process is hard, but it will get easier
- Grief takes time, sometimes much longer than you may expect
- It's okay to grieve and live - it's alright to laugh or feel joy during this process.
- Grief can be scary, and can lead to unwanted thoughts. In these circumstances it's good to talk to someone about these feelings.
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