8 ways to live with grief - Quest for Life
8 ways to live with grief

8 ways to live with grief

There is no right or wrong way to live with grief, but here are a few ways to get you started.

Grief is a profound and complex series of mixed emotions that follow the loss of a loved one in your life. It can be someone you loved very deeply, your absolute everything, or someone you knew in your community. It can be expected or unexpected. Either way, it can affect you and your family members, friends, colleagues and the extended community in a range of ways. 

1. Realise that everyone deals with grief differently.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Indeed, members of a family or community will often react very differently. Some people want solitude, while others won’t want to be alone. Some people want to talk about a loved one, while others might find conversations too difficult. Some people become oversensitive to everything, while others are oblivious to all but their own thoughts and feelings. Don’t compare your grief experience with other people’s grief experiences. Everyone’s finding their own way to live with it.
2. Expect to feel mixed emotions.
Grief is complicated and changeable. Your heart might feel like it’s breaking. One minute you might be feeling bewildered and bereft, the next minute you’re feeling deeply sad or deeply angry. And sometimes you might feel relieved and pleased (and perhaps guilty) that your loved one is no longer suffering. All of these emotions are completely normal.
3. Ask for help.
Grief is very difficult to live with all by ourselves. It’s important to reach out and ask for help from people you trust. Sometimes it can be a good talk with a friend or mate. You could also join a local support group, or ask your GP to refer you to a local grief and bereavement counsellor.
4.Express yourself.
While it helps to talk to others about your grief, it also helps to use a creative outlet for expressing and releasing all of those mixed emotions. Sometimes they cannot be expressed through spoken word alone. You could try writing and journaling, painting, woodworking, pottery or crafting. You could make music, dance or sing. Experiment and find the creative and therapeutic outlet that works best for you.
5. Allow yourself to feel sad.
Cry as much as you need to. Allow yourself to be quiet and still. Cry some more. Stay in your pyjamas all day. It helps to set some time aside for reflection. Take time off work if you need to. Ask someone to look after your children for the day. Don’t worry about answering the phone, emails, or running errands for a few days. And then cry some more.
6. Look after yourself.
Do your best to eat, drink and sleep well. Exercise when you can. It gets the chemicals of our emotions circulating in our bodies and avoids these stress chemicals interfering with the functioning of our immune systems. It’s wise to minimise alcohol or illicit drug consumption when you’re grieving as it masks and therefore prolongs the feelings of grief. Try meditation or yoga to help calm your nervous system.
7. Do what you love.
While your loved one is gone, you are still alive. It helps to do what you love to feel connected to yourself again. While it might be difficult at first, you will start to notice a difference in time. Some suggestions include: going for a bushwalk, being in nature, doing some gardening, getting a massage, listening to music, taking a warm bath, dancing, singing, spending time with your pet, other family members or friends, visiting a special place that is meaningful to you.
8. Give yourself time.
Grief does not work to a schedule or a timeline. Grieving is a process. Feeling ‘better’ can take weeks, months or years. Allow it to unfold at its own pace.
Quest for Life can help you work through and live with grief through our program Healing Your Life