Feelings of Loss and Grief

What are Loss and Grief?

Feelings of loss and grief can occur after losing something or someone that you care about. This may be the loss of a relationship, your health, a job, your possessions, your way of life or the death of loved one. When we lose something or someone that is very important to us, it can take time to adjust and to learn to live our life without that person, the way of life or that thing.

How do loss and grief affect wellbeing?

People grieve differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. People are different in their reactions to the loss and how long their grief lasts. Some typical reactions include:

  • feeling isolated, lonely or withdrawn
  • feeling down or sad, frequent crying
  • feeling confused, anxious, stressed or exhausted
  • guilt, blame, anger, shame or relief
  • physical health problems – change in sleeping patterns or eating habits, headaches
  • making mistakes at school or work, have difficulties concentrating
  • acting differently than usual or not feeling yourself
  • increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
  • not enjoying your hobbies or normal activities
  • tension or difficulties in personal relationships because loved ones may cope differently with the loss
  • feeling like you can’t go on or hopeless, thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

All these reactions to grief are common and you may experience different reactions and emotions at different times.

Loss and grief is a normal part of life that everyone experiences at some point. How we experience grief and loss depend on many factors, including who or what we have lost, our personality, our cultural heritage, our spiritual beliefs, our past history and upbringing, our social support network and our current circumstances.

What helps?

  • Let yourself grieve

It’s very important to express your feelings, rather than bottling them up. Share your feelings with a friend, trusted family member or health professional. Alternatively, express your emotions in another way, such as meditating or praying, playing or listening music, through physical activity and painting or drawing.

  • Take care of yourself

Grief can be emotionally and physically draining. Remember to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthily and doing regular exercise. Try to get back into your normal routine, when you feel ready. Avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can numb your feelings and make it harder to heal.

  • Let others help

It can be hard to accept help from friends and family. Sometimes they don’t know how to support you during this difficult time. Explain how you’re feeling and what others can do to help. It may be emotional support or helping with more practical things, like cooking or looking after children.

  • Do things you enjoy

It’s important to take “time out” from your grief to have fun and enjoy life. Even when you’re feeling down, try to regularly connect with friends and family and get involved in activities that you enjoy. This will assist in the healing process and help you to stay healthy.

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