How To Deal With Grief, Loss And Sadness
I’m very aware the title doesn’t inspire a great rush of emotions that fill your heart with joy because loss might just very well be the complete opposite of joy.
Let me help you
It’s important to note that everyone deals with grief and sadness in very different ways. You cannot know everyones story so please leave the judge-y pants in the box if you witness others processing stuff in a different way.
I'm not professing to be the expert of everything but let me help you manage these strong emotions.
"I feel so sad"
Of course you do.
Grief and loss affect everybody in different ways and there are a multitude of reasons for feeling it. You don’t have to experience a bereavement to feel it. It is entirely normal to mourn the loss of a relationship, as often happens in divorce or the dissolution of a friendship. It is entirely normal to grieve a miscarriage or the idea of a child when experiencing fertility issues.
Grief is real regardless of it’s causes.
And we want something or somebody to take the sadness away. It’s why you’re here, reading this.
It’s painful and it hurts. I'm sorry to say that I can’t take this feeling away, nobody can. I want to pose the question of
If we could take the pain away, should we?
We feel these things because we feel deeply. We’re capable of a great range of emotions from extreme highs and delirious joy to… this. Where you are now. But it is only like this now. The person or experience you are grieving was very important to you.
Give it a name. Call it out. “I am sad”.
As soon as you acknowledge the feeling you are experiencing you can account for it and give it value. You are sad because something or someone you gave great value or love to is not there anymore.
Grief is exhausting
Yes. It is.
Your body is reacting to the emotional stress of your loss by releasing stress hormones like cortisol. Effectively, your body is firing up all the systems to help you fight this thing that is causing such an upset in your emotions, or to run away from it. Of course, you can do neither. You might even be floundering around feeling like you need to do something but you just don’t know what. It’s a panic.
The body must metabolise or breakdown these hormones, and it has to work hard to do that especially since the sadness and stress is prolonged. You’re tired an you want to sleep but you may not be able to sleep because your body feels it needs to do something. There’s massive conflict going on there in the body systems so of course it’s exhausting.
You may feel like there’s a million and one things to do or organise or think about AND you more than likely have to get along with every day life because you still need to eat, sustain and house yourself and your family. In the least patronising way possible, can you give yourself a break and postpone or cancel as many things as you can. Clear you schedule and get rid of anything that’s not urgent. You need to rest and look after your body.
Rest doesn’t just mean sleep; it can just be a pause if sleeping is currently a struggle. Some yoga poses that you may find helpful for a pause are child’s pose (balasana), legs up the wall (viparita Karina) and reclined cobblers pose (supta baddha konasana).
Selfcare for healing
You need to heal emotionally and that will take some time, so in order to let your body systems work efficiently, I’d really like you to consider keeping yourself hydrated. We are approximately 70% water and I’m guessing you’re doing a lot of crying. Dehydration can contribute to feelings of tiredness and can also cause headaches. you just don’t need that right now.
In the nicest possible way, I hope you have done some crying. Stress hormones must be broken down but some can be sent out of the body in the form of tears without the need of metabolism. Never be ashamed to cry.
The food you eat is also important at the moment, too. It’s going to be tempting to reach for quick or easy food and of course, you need to do what you need to do, just make sure you’re eating, but please consider balanced, nutritious food. I'm not talking about avoiding unnecessary weight gain because, honestly, who give a monkeys about that right now?? What I’m talking about is giving the very cells of your body the very best chance for supporting your emotional wellbeing.
Move your body. Nutrient-rich blood is circulated around the body by the heart but there is no ‘pump’ for the lymphatic drainage system, it relies heavily on muscular movement to flush toxins away properly. I’m not telling you that you should force yourself to go to the gym when you can hardly bring yourself to get out of your pyjamas but make sure you move. It might actually be your thing to put your trainers on and go for a light jog or a cycle, but just a short walk every day is fine for now. Just deal with one day at a time. Talking yourself outside in nature can also help to lift your mood. I’m a firm believer that we are all connected to the earth and experiencing a breeze on your face and seeing the sky or the trees can only help. Talking science, trees and greenery give off oxygen so if you’re able to walk in a park or a green area, cleaner air can help keep a sense of mindful connection or at least provide a miniature distraction.
Who can you turn to?
Anyone! Never be ashamed to talk to someone. Perhaps one who understands what you’re going through, perhaps a stranger. Anyone.
Don’t discount your feelings as unimportant or invalid by saying “I’m alright” when you feel like you’re falling to pieces inside.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, please consider contacting The Samaritans or a similar support network. If your grief or sadness is prolonged and you think you may be suffering with depression, your first point of call is always going to be your GP and The Blurt Foundation have a hugely supportive community network. Your GP or medical professional will be able to point you in the direction of local networks for face-to-face support.
I do not want you to feel isolated or alone.
Journalling can be hugely beneficial for your mental and emotional health; you can literally pour the words or pictures out onto paper so they’re not fizzing around in your head. You don’t even have to read them back to yourself, just close the book and have it ready for the next time you need to empty things out, much like Dumbledore’s pensive in the Harry Potter stories.
Kind-souled reader, I am so sorry for your sadness.
Please know that this feeling won’t always feel this raw. It’s important to live in the now and not in the past and nobody is ever going to tell you to forget the beautiful experience that ended. Your body has incredible power for healing - it wants you to feel better and when you do you will always have the precious memories of how things were.
Please share this information with anyone who might find it helpful, using the social media icon buttons below or by email.
Self care was never so important as during times of sadness.
Sending much love to you,