by Rachel Steward, Acupuncturist.
Grief can arise from a variety of situations – but one aspect of it never seems to change. It is uncompromising. We are the ones who must bend to the experience.
Given that difficult reality I think it is really important to try and support ourselves as much as possible as we move through the grieving process. Here are my thoughts on how best to do that.
Understand that grieving takes a lot of energy. Even if you feel that you are just living daily life you can expect to be tired – especially in the early stages of loss. This is normal. Find ways to conserve energy such as early nights, saying no and eating good food.
Expect to have days where you feel numb. You may feel guilty about these days at first – until you learn that grief comes in waves and the “tide will be high” again soon enough. I believe that the numb days are a rest for our psyche in between bouts of more acute sadness and pain. Use these days as recovery days.
Grieving tends to accentuate the experience of being in the world. The term “bright sorrow” seems to encapsulate this idea. You may have times where you feel so raw that a breeze on your skin is enough to bring you tears. Expect these days too and see if you can use that heightened sensitivity to focus on some aspect of beauty in the natural environment – the colour of a tree or the sound of a bird.
Realise that grief will come up for you at wildly inconvenient times – when you’re walking into work in the morning or half way through a yoga class. Simply carrying some tissues and Rescue Remedy can help you to feel more in control at these times.
When you suffer a major loss and the world around you seems unchanged it can make you realise that you never really know what is going on for people around you such as your barista or dentist. In the early days it can be easy to resent the way the world keeps turning, when your world has been turned upside down, but as time passes this knowledge can foster your compassion.
Finally I believe it is important to give yourself what you really need rather than just what will do. Only you know what this is for you – but this is the time to give it to yourself.