Recovering from grief
It's important not to expect too much of yourself in the early stages of grief. Remember:
- there is no wrong or right way to grieve - give yourself and others permission to grieve
- don't be afraid to ask for help from a friend, family member, or by contacting a grief support service if you think you’re not coping
- there is no timeline – the grieving process can be short or long. It can feel like it’s finished and then return.
The pain and hurt can make it hard to communicate with family and friends. Try to respect each other’s coping techniques and keep talking.
Grief will eventually become less intense. You’ll have more frequent and longer periods of energy and hope. Memories will become less painful, and your loss will become a part of life in a new way.
Activities to help with grief
Time alone to reflect
- Spend time alone to think, remember, meditate or pray.
- Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings.
- Record notes or messages for friends and family when you need to tell your story, or to express feelings.
- Visit a special place.
- Make a journal, photo album or memory box with mementoes.
- Create a memory book for family and friends to write stories, memories and messages.
- In the case of bereavement, rearrange and store the person's belongings when you are ready to.
Reach out to others
- Talk to someone you trust who will listen with understanding to your thoughts and feelings.
- Be clear with others about what you would find helpful.
- Attend individual counselling or a support group.
Plan coping strategies for the harder times
- Develop a list of people and organisations to contact when the going gets tough.
- Prepare for difficult dates, events and other triggers that may bring your grief to the surface.
- Prioritise daily tasks - do only what is essential and be kind to yourself.
- Use voicemail so you can choose who you’ll talk to. You might want to record a message such as, ‘Thank you for your call. I appreciate it. I’ll get back to you when I can.’
Look after yourself
- Spend time in nature if you can.
- Find distractions to give your mind time out.
- Do things that you know help you relax. Whether it’s an activity, pastime or strategy that you know works for you. Or something new – like relaxation exercises, or practising mindfulness.
- Do what you can to get good quality sleep.
- Get active to boost your energy or to use excess adrenaline.
- Avoid making big life decisions (if it can’t wait, get support with it from someone you trust).
- Approach alcohol and other drug use with great care. It’s important to feel your feelings so that you can find ways to cope in the long term.
- Take small steps back to your normal routine.
- Don’t feel guilty about looking to the future – it’s part of the process.
Learn more about looking after your mental health and wellbeing.