5 Signs Of Grief And How To Recover From Loss
Feeling sad or angry and not sure what’s going on?
==> It could be grief… Click here to watch my video on the 5 signs of grief. <==
This Is A Normal Response To Loss
Recently, I found myself asking: “What is going on with me?! Why am I so angry??” There’s nobody here in my house (because my hubby and I are self-isolating)… so what’s going on?
Then I thought, “Oh yeah, this looks familiar. I remember what this is…”
I ran back to get my book, The Grief Recovery Handbook. After my mom passed away, I went through this book and it was so incredibly helpful. If you’re struggling with grief, this is an amazing book to help you process through what you’re feeling.
This is how the book defines grief: “Grief is normal and natural. It’s a normal reaction to some kind of loss… Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behaviour.”
It can be helpful to know that we don’t just feel grief when someone that we love passes away (like when I lost my mom). We can also feel grief when there are big or small changes to our normal routine.
So what type of losses could cause you to experience grief? Keep reading below for examples…
Types Of Losses You Might Be Experiencing
I was thinking about the changes and losses and here are some of the things that I’m really missing right now:
- My grandchildren’s hugs
- Having my grandkids sit on my lap and reading them a story
- My daughter and making Sunday dinner for her family
- My dad and cutting his hair
And then there are the losses that I’m hearing about as a coach:
- No longer having a job or income
- Letting go of a dream of a special family trip
- Losing independence to go places
- Not being able to spend time with your spouse if they’re an essential worker because they need to constantly isolate when they’re home
- Having a loved one fall ill and not being able to visit them
Those are just some of the losses that I’m hearing about. There are these smaller losses where we know that things will change maybe for a season or maybe permanently. And then there are larger losses as well.
It’s all grief.
When we feel the loss of our usual patterns and allow ourselves to feel the emotions around these losses, that’s grief.
But with so much going on right now, how do you know if it’s actually grief or not?!
5 Signs That You’re Grieving A Loss
#1. Feeling Helpless and Denying What’s Happening – When we go into this denial place, we can’t deal with the things that are happening or the emotions that we’re feeling.
#2. Stuck in Rumination – We get caught in thought loops like “if only I had done this differently…” or “If only I had saved up here…” or “What if we could just get together for Easter…” When we do this, we’re focusing on the loss.
#3. Intense Sadness – Grief can cause a deep sadness over what we’ve lost. It led me to feel really angry about the fact that I couldn’t be with my family that I dearly love. But once I recognized that this is where the anger is coming from, that was tremendously helpful.
(By the way, grief is different than ongoing sadness or depression. Grief is a separate thing.)
#4. Unacceptance of the Situation – We can be feeling helpless and then also refuse to accept the situation. Instead, we focus on how we’re going get around the sense of loss they’re feeling.
#5. Feeling a Numbness – Feeling numb is often the first reaction to grief. A sense of shock for the loss we’ve experienced… Like the emotions are too big to experience. Everyone’s grief experience of grief is unique to each person but numbness usually lasts a few hours as we begin to process through the pain.
If you’ve read through this list and you’ve identified that you’re grieving, then you might be thinking “now what”? What do you do next?
The First Step To Processing Grief
We need to be able to identify grief in order to be able to work through it. This is the first step to processing our loss. Fact is, until I recognized that what I was feeling was grief, I couldn’t walk through it.
And we can’t deal with what we don’t know or are not aware of.
And that’s one of the reasons why coaching is so powerful. It helps us to go within so we can lead more effectively from the inside out.
So once you become aware that you are feeling grief, then what?
How To Recover From Grief
Here are some key principles that can help you to recover from grief:
1 – Grief is Normal and Natural.
It’s nothing to be afraid of, shy away from or feel ashamed of. All of us experience losses and what I see as a loss might not be what you perceive as a loss. That’s okay. We’re all unique.
2 – Grief Involves Sorting Through Conflicting Feelings.
Why would grief involve conflicting feelings? Well, maybe you’re stuck at home but because you’re an introvert, you’re loving being at home. But because we’re all self-isolating, maybe it’s TOO much time at home so you feel a bit conflicted. You like it but you’re missing people from work or your family or friends.
3 – Processing Grief Requires Us To Take Responsibility for Our Feelings and Choices
This means that our circumstances don’t claim us. We take ownership of our feelings and the choices we make while we’re processing our grief.
4 – Recovering From Grief Means Finding New Meaning for Living
At one point, to recover from grief means that we stop looking backward at our loss and we begin to look forward again. We gain skills to deal with loss and this enables us to participate one-hundred percent in life and in relationships again.
What Does Recovery From Grief Look Like?
It means that we’re not avoiding people or conversations because of grief. We’re not hiding out in our house because of grief (maybe because of COVID-19… ). It’s vital to recover from grief so we can fully participate in life and in relationships.
If you’re struggling with grief, then I don’t want you to struggle alone.
Call a friend or family member that you can talk to. Or, if you need more support, hire a coach to help you work through the overwhelm and the many emotions that you’re feeling.
I have seen my clients recover from grief and I have recovered from grief as well, so I know you can recover too.
What do you find helpful to recover from grief? Share your insights in the comments below so we can encourage each other!
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