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Coping with grief can be hard. Grief is something we experience that produces deep sorrow, especially after someone’s death that you are close to. Often times, grief can disrupt the holiday season stealing the joy from gathering with family and friends. Today we are going to talk about grief, it’s affects and ways to cope with grief during the holidays.

What Causes Grief?

The death of a loved one is an obvious cause for grief but there are other events that can cause grief. Some of these could be hard to recognize as grief. As we talk through these today, I encourage you process the information slowly. Maybe you have some grief that has not been processed yet and there is a step forward you could take in healing. As mentioned above, there are multiple circumstances that can cause grief. Let’s take a look at some below.

  • Loss of a friendship or significant relationship
  • Death of loved one
  • Divorce
  • Major medical changes, injury or illness in you or someone you love
  • The loss of a pet
  • Career changes, especially if you see it as a demotion
  • Major financial changes or loss
  • Suicide
  • Miscarriage or infertility

When we or someone we love experiences a hardship, it can be hard to process all of the emotions that come with that. Each of us will experience some sort of grief and having knowledge and steps for coping can help during those seasons. We will take a look at that below.

How Do I Know if I am Grieving?

It is important to know that grief can affect every aspect of our mind, body and spirit. While grief is a normal emotion to experience, it important to recognize and process it to prevent it from taking a toll on our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Grief, left alone, can weaken our immune system as well as our nervous system and cause other issues within our bodies. So how do we recognize symptoms of grief? Below are symptoms that could signify you are experiencing grief.

  • Restlessness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness or Joint pain
  • Reduced Appetite or Eating outside of hunger
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Sleep issues – too little or too much
  • Confusion
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Lost sense of hope
  • Difficulty focusing

While these symptoms are helpful in identifying grief, some of them could be a symptom of another issue. If you are experiencing multiple of these symptoms, it is best to seek medical help to ensure medical attention isn’t needed. Do these feelings arise mostly at a certain time of year? That could indicate unresolved grief from an event that took place during that time frame. Maybe it is too hard to face a celebration without a loved one? We offer trauma counseling that could help you identify your grief and map out steps forward. Below we will talk about ways to process and cope with grief.

How Can I Cope with Grief?

First of all, grief looks different for every person. There is no set way that grief should look. There is no set time frame in which you should “be over” grieving. Be kind to yourself and know that what you are facing is hard. That is ok. It is important that we all take steps to process our grief and that will look different for each of us. As you read through the suggestions, celebrate that steps you are already taking. Maybe you can commit to one additional step at a time until your grief seems more manageable.

  • Process what you are feeling. Do not fill your days with distractions to avoid what you are feeling.
  • As you process what you are feeling, allow whatever you feel. Talk to someone about it or journal your thoughts.
  • Connect with people. Isolation during grief can extend your pain. Sharing what you are going through with someone you trust can help.
  • Create a routine or schedule. This can help you feel back to normal and you can regain a sense of control.
  • Go to bed and awaken at the same time each day. Regulating our sleep and internal systems strengthens us.
  • Eat a balanced diet that feeds your body with the needed nutrients.
  • Avoid numbing your feeling with alcohol or drug usage.
  • Self-care and exercise is important. Our bodies release endorphins and detox when we exercise.

Grief is hard. You are not alone in what you feel. If you have tried to process what you are feeling and you are still struggling to process your feelings, you are not alone. Talking to a counselor may be needed to help you recognize some steps to take to move forward. It could be the step that sets you free from a long season of grief. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here to help you. Contact us today for help coping with your grief.