Grief, expecting the unexpected. We each experience grief differently. Today, guest contributor Camille Holmes offers us: 5 Small Ways You Can Start Working Through Your Grief.
Grieving the death of a loved one can take a significant emotional toll on you, making it difficult to keep up with daily tasks. If you find yourself in a rut, don’t worry. There are several small changes you can make that can guide you towards healthful healing. Here are five ways you can help yourself work through grief.
1. Start Writing Regularly
Whether it’s creative fiction or a simple stream of consciousness, writing is useful for addressing your grief in a recognizable way. It allows you to articulate your emotions and gives you a better understanding of your situation because you can actually see your thoughts on a piece of paper. Try journaling either once a day or on days where you're feeling particularly low.
Writing down small goals like your daily tasks can help, too. Putting things in writing improves your motivation and focus, two things that can be difficult to maintain during the grieving process. Even if your tasks seem insignificant at first, over time, you’ll be able to track the progress of your healing.
2. Pay It Forward
Doing something for others comes in many forms, but at its core, helping others means helping yourself, too. Studies have shown that volunteer work can improve your mental and physical health through doing fulfilling work, establishing a routine, and connecting with people. Think of it as honoring someone you've lost and served a greater purpose in your loved one's memory. There are dozens of ways to get involved in your community. Even committing to something like volunteering at the food shelter only once a week can make a huge difference.
3. Spend Time Outside
Simply put, spending time outdoors can make you feel better. Natural sunlight and fresh air cause a surge of serotonin in your body, improving your mood and reducing symptoms that may be affiliated with grief, such as depression or anxiety. When grieving, your mind may be in a million places at once, but decompressing in nature can help clear your head.
4. Start a New Hobby
Finding something new that gives you joy can feel like a fresh start. There are hundreds of hobbies to choose from, but ones that offer a creative outlet could have the most profound effects. Try your hand at art or music for therapeutic results. Music gives you the space to transform your grief and process emotions in a healthy way, but you don’t have to learn an instrument if you feel it’s too daunting. The simple act of listening to music can soothe you.
5. Change Your Career
Your grief may remind you to chase your dreams and seek out a better career. One way to push forward is by pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate in your field of choice. Thankfully, you may not have to make any major adjustments to your life. With online degree programs, you can still work full-time and take care of your family while getting your education. Just make sure you search for an accredited school that offers competitive tuition rates.
Grieving doesn’t have to be scary, and change can happen in small increments. Making simple adjustments like writing, getting creative, volunteering, or even considering a career change can go a long way in helping you heal.
Note: Camille created Bereaver after she went through the ups and downs of the bereavement process herself following the loss of her parents and husband. With the help of her friend who was also experiencing a loss of her own, she learned how to grieve the healthy way, and she wants to share that with others. There is no one way to grieve, but it is important to do it in a way that supports your physical and mental health throughout.