Grief is a Cold Stone B*tch
Grief: a five letter word that cuts like a knife, as we all have experienced loss in one form or another. Whether it was losing your childhood dog, a parent, a grandparent, a romantic relationship, a close friendship, the seven inches of hair your hairdresser convinced you to chop off, or your favorite pair of Steve Maddens you're almost positive you left at Jen's last fall, every single person has gone through pain. While there is a broad spectrum of grief and how deeply we feel a loss, there are five stages of grief that most of us will go through:
Denial - we don't believe that what is happening is our reality
Anger - our pain sets in, and manifests first as anger, either at the person or situation
Bargaining - we'll do anything to make the pain stop (trying to persuade and/or make a deal with the person, or a higher power to make this suffering end)
Depression - we feel as though there has been a death (even if this isn't the physical case), as we realize this person/pet/item is actually gone from our lives. Our body isn't used to not having them around, and we're left with unbearable sadness
Acceptance - we finally reach a place of accepting that we have to figure out a way to live without this person/pet/item
We know this, as we've likely all gone through this process at some point (and if you haven't yet - count your blessings!) But, while we know these necessary stages and what they entail, how do you actually deal with loss? Is there a secret formula that you can concoct and poof goes your pain? Unfortunately, no. BUT, there are some things you can do that can help you maneuver through your emotional roller coaster.
Feel All Your Feels
You heard me - get it all out. Cry, scream, punch your pillow, literally jump up and down and shake out every bad feeling that is being cooped up in your body. The only way out is through - and to get through, you have to feel every emotion. And yes, this process sucks, I won't sugar coat it. But what sucks even worse is keeping all of these feelings bottled up, so much so that it will literally make you feel sick. The sooner you let yourself work through your emotions, the sooner you'll begin healing.
Surrounding Yourself with People
When we feel sad/depressed/upset, our first inclination may be to isolate ourselves - this is the worst thing you can do. Nothing will kick you in the gut more than sitting in your room crying and being left alone with your spiraling thoughts. Now, this isn't to discourage you from taking the time you need for yourself and crying it out (as I said, this is the first essential step), but make sure that you aren't spending too much time alone. Distractions are a blessing when it comes to grief. While you don't want to ignore how you're feeling, you don't want to let it consume you either. Let your friends/family in, and let them help remind you all of the good things you still have in your life.
When you lose someone/something, sometimes it's difficult to rationalize in your head about how you're feeling. Getting your thoughts on paper allows you to freely express your thoughts (in a judgement-free zone) and you may even find that you have thoughts/feelings that you didn't even know were there.
Watch Something Funny
When we're feeling down, (drama queens like me) feel like we'll never laugh or feel joy again. This is one of the most important times to pop in Bridesmaids, and - even if you don't laugh - you can't not at least crack a smile. Regardless, this will give you even the slightest boost of endorphins and reminds your brain, hey, this is a happy situation. Those still exist!
Take a Drive
One of my absolute favorites! What is better than driving around (specifically on a warm, spring day) with your windows rolled down, blasting Beyoncé and scream-singing the lyrics to your favorite songs (even if these are sad songs). Music is so therapeutic, and driving gets you out of the house along with some fresh air. (disclaimer: please don’t drive when you're not feeling emotionally stable enough to operate a vehicle)
Um, hello? One of the best ways to make yourself feel better is to treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers, go get your nails done, get that facial, order that dress, take yourself to lunch. Whether this is with friends, your mom, your sister, or by yourself, buy something that will make you feel even the slightest bit better.
Dance it Out
Another favorite - while this may not be possible in the early stages of grief depending on how deep the pain is, there's really nothing like a dance party to get those endorphins flowing. Put on your favorite jam, grab your roommates or even just by yourself, and just have fun! Allow yourself to feel this joy, because let's face it, it's hard not to feel even just a little lighter after attempting to twerk with some of your best friends (or laughing at yourself alone in the mirror).
Declutter Your Space
While attempting to de-clutter your mind, a good start is decluttering your space. Tidy up your room, do your laundry, vacuum the floors, and light a candle. The more organized, clean, and put-together you can make your space, the better you'll feel mentally.
Ask For Help
The dreaded advice - asking for help. Many of us try to steer clear of this. We don't want to project our problems onto other people, so we keep our emotions to ourselves. But, who does this help, really? You end up distancing from your loved ones because you can't hold a regular conversation, and this could even cause more tension in your life. Let the people around you know what's going on and how you're feeling. If they care about you, they want to help you! Have the conversations, and let them know what you need.
Additionally, don't be afraid to seek out other resources. Look for therapists, courses, podcasts, or books that can help you learn coping mechanisms and how to deal with your grief.
Give Yourself Grace
Allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgement. Don't put a time stamp on when you should "snap out of it" or "go back to normal". To effectively heal from a loss, you need to take all the time you need and do the things that help you personally - and this looks different for everyone! Whatever you do, just do things that make you feel good. Let people in. Be honest with yourself. Give yourself grace to go at your own pace.
Are you struggling with a loss? Don't know how to deal with your grief? Leave a comment below or shoot me a message and I'd love to help support you. ♥