Grief is a process that is as unique as the individual experiencing it. There is no one right way to grieve, and there is no timeline for grief. The process of grief can be divided into stages, but it is important to remember that grief is not a linear process. You may move through the stages of grief in a different order than someone else, and you may find yourself moving back and forth between stages.
It is also important to be gentle with yourself as you move through the stages of grief. Here are 10 ways to be gentle with yourself:
Acknowledge that grief is normal and Ask for Physical Touch
One of the most important things you can do for yourself when grieving is to simply acknowledge that what you are feeling is normal. Grief is a response to lose, and loss can come in many forms. You may be grieving the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a relationship. Whatever the cause of your grief, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Grief is a universal experience, and you have a right to feel however you feel. Physical contact can be transformative for healing. A simple hug, handholding, or arm around someone can be soothing. If this isn’t you, it is also ok to say no to these gestures.
Don’t try to force yourself to feel better.
It is normal to want to make the pain go away but resist the urge to try and force yourself to feel better. Grief is a process, and it takes time. Don’t try to rush yourself through it. Instead, allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling in the moment. If you are feeling sad, cry. If you are feeling angry, express your anger in a healthy way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so just allow yourself to feel.
Cry when you need to cry.
Crying is a natural and healthy part of the grieving process. It is a way to release the pain you are feeling. So, if you need to cry, don’t hold back. Let the tears flow.
Healthily express your anger.
It is also normal to feel anger when grieving. Anger is a normal emotion, and it is okay to express it. Just be sure to do so in a healthy way. Avoid venting your anger on those around you or taking your anger out on yourself. Instead, try to find constructive ways to express your anger. Maybe you need to punch a pillow, scream into the void, or write a letter that you never intend to send. Whatever you do, just be sure to do it in a way that is not harmful to yourself or others.
Be patient with yourself.
Grief is not a linear process. You will not just “get over it” and move on. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve. It is okay to take things one day at a time, or even one moment at a time. Be patient with yourself, and don’t try to rush through the process.
Allow yourself to make mistakes.
Grief can be all-consuming, and it can be difficult to think about anything else. As a result, you may find yourself making mistakes. Maybe you forget to pay a bill, or you say the wrong thing to a friend. Whatever the mistake, cut yourself some slack. It is okay to make mistakes when you are grieving.