• Neeley Hughey

Healthy Ways to Deal with Grief

Grief…a sharp, often overwhelming sorrow brought on by loss or great suffering. Those words do not do justice to the effects of grief, do they? While society typically focuses on the emotional response to grief, it affects everyone in different ways. Many have physical, cognitive, spiritual, and even social responses to grief.

The repercussions of grief can engulf you, make you feel like you are drowning and stop you from being a productive member of society. And while society expects and makes room for this type of response to the loss of a loved one, there are many other situations and experiences that cause the same grief, often unknown to the world at large and maybe only shared with a small number of those closest to us.

Grief is a process and a path unique to each person. We must learn to cope and recover in our own way.

The holidays can bring about new waves of grief like no other…

· The first holiday season since the death of a loved one or beloved pet.

· Spending a holiday without a spouse or significant other due to divorce or separation.

· Staying home for the holidays due to COVID or work requirements.

· Missing a beloved family member whose life has changed and will not be present for the first time.

· And so many more…

Healthy Ways to Deal with Grief

First, know that grief is part of the healing process. There is no better way to heal then to feel and explore the waves of grief. No one can tell you how long the process will take. But let yourself relieve the memories, feel the regret, laugh at the memories. Give yourself grace and permission to feel it all. A grief counselor is a wonderful guide through this process.

Second, do something for someone else. To get a break from the overwhelm and sadness that often accompany grief, turn your attention to someone or something else. Write a note to a friend, volunteer or even dive into work. A brief distraction will give you some temporary relief and allow you to gain a different perspective.

Third, honor your memories. Good or bad, it is healthy to take action some action based on the recollections. Purge items from your home that stir up negative feelings and energy. Create a memory box and pack some things away to revisit later. Create a memorial keepsake.

Finally, create new traditions. It is okay to change how the holidays look. The old traditions may not feel right anymore. Sit down and make a list of things you would enjoy doing to celebrate the holidays. And then bring your family or friends on board to begin a new tradition or even just a change for this year. You will find that many are open and supportive of this type of change as they may be feeling the same loss and need for change as you are.

About the Author

Neeley R. Hughey ,PhD, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and Certified Life with over 20 years of experience specializing in CPTSD, PTSD, Trauma, Depression and Anxiety.

Call 321.757.4015 to make an appointment with Neeley.

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