When we face a significant loss such as the death of a family member, friend, or pet, it can be overwhelming to grapple with our grief. Our emotions in the wake of loss can be difficult and paralyzing, making it hard to know where to start. Thankfully, it is possible to understand and process our grief, emotions and the physical health impacts of dealing with loss, in order to live a full and meaningful life moving forward.
Understanding your Grief
Grief can arise from a variety of sources, including the death of a beloved family member, friend or pet, the end of a romantic relationship, loss of a job or other identity-defining role, or a shift in life stage or circumstances. It can also arise from loss of a cherished home, good health, or other valued possessions. Understanding the source and root of your grief can help you move toward acceptance.
We can all react differently to loss, and it is essential to recognize that no one reaction is “right.” Intense feelings such as sadness, guilt, anger, and confusion are all common, and it is important to give yourself permission to experience whatever emotions are present for you. It can also be helpful to access a support system of understanding friends and family who will provide non-judgmental space for you to offload, grieve and heal.
Physical Health Impacts
Grief can cause physical health impacts, resulting in greater susceptibility to illness and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. As such, it is important to practice self-care and nurture your physical health during this time. This could involve increases in rest, mindfulness and relaxation exercises, or particular dietary choices.
Being able to accept loss and move on to live a meaningful life is an essential part of managing grief and loss. To reach a point of acceptance, it can be crucial to reach out for guidance and support. Professional counselling can offer a safe space for exploring and confronting emotions, which can make all the difference in successfully learning to move on.
Grief and loss can be overwhelming and confusing, but powerful steps can be taken toward understanding, coping and ultimately accepting the emotions and physical health effects of loss. With support from family, friends and professional counsellors, you can begin to work your way through the grieving process towards embracing a meaningful life.