When walking through grief it is helpful to know that it is going to come and go like waves. One day the water might be up to your neck, feeling as though you can’t catch a breath and will drown. Other days the waves will feel much smaller. And just like the storms in the ocean, grief can be unpredictable. Even though it is unpredictable, there are ways you can be proactive in going through your grief journey.
Identifying Coping Strategies
One way to find useful coping skills is being able to identify your triggers. This could be something such as a person, place, song, or a special day. For example, I have seen Christmas time being a trigger because it was so special for the mom and her daughter. Knowing this was a trigger helped her be extra aware of the steps she needs to take around that time of year. Steps to surround herself with friends and family that were sensitive to her sadness and knew how to love her in her pain.
During this blog, I will go through how having a written plan is helpful when faced with triggers. This can help calm you down when you are clouded with unrelenting emotions. Answering these 3 questions will help you identify useful coping strategies.
What can you do?
When faced with a difficult reminder of your loss, it can be important to know what you can do to help yourself. Take a few moments now to think of actions that bring you any form of relief. This could be as big or small as you want it to be. Having these written down can help you quickly identify steps to take in situations where you are overwhelmed by grief. Some examples are:
- Reading a book or verse that brings you comfort
- Writing in a journal
- Listening to music or a podcast
- Eating a favorite food at a restaurant
- Going outside to a special place
Where can you go?
Next, be able to know places where you can go when faced with a trigger. Having safe places is vital for your mental health. This should be an area where you feel comforted and safe to express how you are feeling. For some this could be a place of community such as their Church. For others, it might be a quiet location such as your favorite walking trail or a home with family and friends.
Who can you talk to?
When grieving it sometimes feels like no one is there or no one will fully understand what you are facing. Don’t let grief isolate you from the people who love and care about you. In these moments embrace the individuals who will let you fully express how you are feeling. In this moment, write out a list of people you can call or visit when faced with difficult reminders. If no one comes to mind or you don’t feel comfortable confiding with someone close to you there is another option. For many struggling with grief, talking to a therapist can be a great next step.
If this is something you are interested in exploring as you navigate through your grief journey, you can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We would love to be someone you can talk to and walk with as you face new and lasting reminders of your loss. We look forward to hearing from you soon!