Managing Your Emotions During a Time of Grief
Managing your emotions during a time of grief can be difficult, but you can stay sane if you make it a priority to experience grief in a way that will allow you look back on the experience without angst.
In fact, helping yourself during the grieving process will help you smoothly transition back to normality more smoothly. There’s no reason to feel guilty about doing so. If it were the other way around, would you like to think of your survivors’ anxiety should you fail to return to them one day?
Fake it till you make it. That doesn’t mean to say that you fake being happy. All too often, we isolate ourselves from others during our grief. We give up on actions we normally take for granted: simple things like brushing our teeth, walking with a friend, reading a book.
Even if you feel that going for a run with your usual running buddy is the very last thing on Earth you want to do; go do it.
You may feel drained and exhausted – emotions are exhausting – so if you feel you really can’t take part in an activity that used to be second nature (the running example above) then opt for something less energetic.
The point is that you continue to do something active and pay attention to self-care. Forming a bad habit now (e.g., not brushing your teeth) will only associate itself in your mind with your loss. Every time you feel the loss, it’s likely you will indulge in the bad habit until eventually, you will feel powerless against it.
Keep control of your life so that you can eventually feel good about grieving and celebrate the life of your loved one, not confused and wallowing in regret over both your loss and your reaction to it.
Regret is useless. You can wallow in it, but it won’t clear your skin like wallowing in mud will.
Accept sudden overwhelming feelings of loss for what they are. Don’t see them as a reason you should give up on your routine. Our brains pick up on our bodies’ activities, so while you may feel like it’s the last thing you should be doing, doing something you always felt was fun and exciting will trigger the fun and exciting feelings again when you begin to emerge from your grief. Even if it was fun and exciting because you shared the activity with the loved one you have lost. What better way to remember them?