As living and breathing humans we inevitably have to deal with loss. Loss often comes with grief, which is described as a strong feeling of sadness, pain, shock and/or heartbreak, especially when someone in our lives passes away.
While it's often linked to the death of a loved one, grief can appear when we experience loss in general, such as:
Losing a friend
Moving away from home
Death of a pet
The bottom line is: death and loss are inevitable. Since we can't stop these things from happening, below are things to consider when looking to prioritize mental health during challenging times:
1. Identifying emotions + writing them out
Grief is more complex than sadness. Depending on your personal relationships, memories, and experiences with the people or things you lost, your mood can quickly change from one to the other. One way to manage emotions is to write down how you're feeling and why — kind of like journaling. Other useful tips include paying attention to mood shifts, identifying triggers, and avoiding the urge to bottle up, ignore or hide emotions.
2. Openly expressing yourself
Acknowledgment of your emotions may not only help with the overall healing process but can also allow for better emotional control. It’s perfectly normal to cry, laugh, feel numb, and everything else in between, during your grieving process. As time passes, that process can shift based on different things like how much the deceased person impacted your life.
Thinking about impact can lead to a trip down memory lane, a road many of us don't tend to forget, meaning grief is essentially forever. It can be triggered by photos, meals, jokes, and more, though its pattern and the way it manifests itself will change over time. It's important to be gentle and honest with yourself as you make sense of your loss, as well as build a good support system if you don’t already have one.
3. Therapy & grief counseling
Psychology and the way our brains function is a science. Most of us aren’t well informed on how to process and heal from trauma, which makes therapy such a great choice. By speaking with a psychotherapist, you can learn to better identify your emotions, discuss your personal situation, and be provided with the tools required to handle life-changing moments.
Your therapist will listen to you and help you put together a personalized treatment plan. Additionally, a therapist can help you feel less alone with your problems, offer a different perspective, as well as provide exercises on coping with traumatic events like death. Overall, investing in therapy ensures you're approaching your emotions in a healthy way and taking care of yourself.
4. Establishing a self-care routine
Improving your wellbeing starts with self-care. Self-care is all about setting aside time to focus or do something nice for yourself. Some ways to go about it include lighting candles, exercising, taking a day off of work, reading, meditation, or indulging in a relaxing candlelit bubble bath.
Whatever you decide to do with your day, do what you love and enjoy! A few moments of happiness and peace is the ultimate goal. You can learn more about creating a self-care routine here. Once you've established a routine, be ready to see your lifestyle, mindset, and sense of self potentially improve, while feelings of stress and anxiety can decrease. Don't be afraid to take the time to check in with your mind and body during your healing journey.
Stay safe & healthy,
Aissatou Bah is a copywriter, lifestyle blogger, and poet. You can find her on social media @aissatoutb