Working through Grief

May 16, 2024

The pain and suffering that comes with loss cannot be underestimated. It can feel like our world has shattered, but somehow we have to keep moving forward whether we want to or not. And for many of us, working through grief is a reality we must face at some point. 

It is important to acknowledge that when we lose someone, or something, beloved to us, our feelings can be very complicated. And we all grieve in different ways. Mixed in with sadness we might experience: 

  • Anger 
  • Despair 
  • Relief 
  • Guilt 
  • Shame 
  • Numbness/nothing 
  • Exhaustion 
  • Frustration
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Fear 
  • Confusion
  • Disbelief 
  • Emptiness 

You might feel like people or society, have expectations around how you should feel and behave after experiencing loss. But however, your feelings and reactions are normal and valid. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve. 

Some people find focusing on work to be a helpful distraction. While for others it can create feelings of guilt that they are ‘moving on’ with their life, which can be hard to deal with. While there is no cure for a broken heart, there are things we can do that can help ease the pain. 

  • Make time for quiet reflection or meditation – you can even schedule it into your week. When things are busy, it might feel comforting knowing that you have a space planned that is just for you. Use this time to check in with yourself about how you are feeling and what small actions you can take to look after yourself in this difficult time.
  • Find some rituals that help you. It could be praying, going to a special/meaningful place once in a while, or doing something that brings back a good memory. 
  • Write a letter to your lost loved ones. Find a quiet moment to write all the things you wished you had said, all your honest thoughts and feelings too. This is not for anyone else to read, but a chance for you to express yourself and explore your feelings.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust – people who care about you will want to support you. 
  • Do things that bring you joy. You are allowed to feel good. Give yourself permission to laugh and appreciate happy moments. It might feel strange or difficult, but it is possible to experience positive emotions even in the middle of grief if you can, find healthy distractions – books, podcasts, TV – anything that lifts your spirits and takes you away from the day-to-day for a few moments.
  • If you can access professional support then it is worth considering – especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. This could be a qualified online therapist, counselor, life coach, or psychiatrist.

Here are some helpful resources with more advice and tips for dealing with a bereavement: