15 things that will help you navigate grief

Grief, unfortunately, is an inevitable part of life. It’s one of those processes that you don’t want to go through, but everyone will. 

A misconception about loss is that you go through grief and then move forward until grief touches your life again. The reality is that once grief touches your life it stays with you. 

Certain things really helped me process my grief, so I thought I’d share them for anyone struggling right now. Grief at Christmas is especially difficult so it’s worth keeping these tips in mind. 

15 things that will help you navigate grief

Books 

I find reading about other people’s experiences of grief fasincating. It’s the magic of authors being able to articulate feelings that you can’t. Whether it’s in fiction or a non-fiction, all stories about grief are powerful. They will resonate with you and help you figure out how you feel and how to get through it.

Spend time with your people

They might be close family or great friends, but make sure you spend time with people you can be yourself around. It will make everything feel much easier and remove some of the pressure you feel to ‘be ok’.

Carve time out to grieve

Take time out of your normal life (which is slightly more complicated in the pandemic) to grieve. Find time away from your responsibilities to just feel everything that you need to. Whether it’s a bath or a long walk, find ways to switch off from the outside world and focus on yourself.

Escape into great TV shows & films

Watching a scifi film is perfect escapism. I found this so helpful when my Dad died. It’s very difficult to find movies that aren’t about family, love or relationship issues, but you’re going to find it difficult to relate to every aspect of a film about aliens. There will be enough to captivate your attention and feel relatable, but it won’t upset you. I must have watched Men in Black III almost a thousand times in 2013. 

Find reasons to laugh

It always feels great to do things that genuinely make you laugh. Whether that’s being with certain people, doing a particular activity or watching a certain TV show.  

Cry 

Let all the emotions out, if you need to cry, just cry. If anything you’ll probably feel better afterwards for it.

Look through photos & videos

I find looking through photos or rewatching videos comforting. Sometimes I can’t help myself and I know I’ll get sad, but I have to look through them. Either way, they’re a token of the person you’ve lost so have them around if you want to look.  

Journaling

If you can’t figure out how you feel, write it down. I find writing down how I feel, however random it might seem, helps me make sense of my thoughts. You process them as you write them down and it’s really helpful.

Move your body

You don’t always feel like it, but movement (preferably with music so loud you can’t focus on your sore muscles) does wonders. It helps focus on your breathing, switch off all your brain noise and just be in the moment.

Create a routine 

Having a routine whether that’s working, walking, dog walks, chill time, really helps build new habits and focus throughout the day.

Listen to music 

Music can boost your mood. You can also create the mood for a cry with music, but I’d recommend doing the opposite.

Visit their grave 

Slightly controversial, but I find visiting the grave helps. I don’t know why exactly, but I think it’s just part of the process. Nothing needs to be off limits, if you want to go somewhere, go there, if you don’t want to, that’s also a-ok.

You don’t have to remove them from the conversation

They existed, they’ve just died. You don’t have to erase them from time by never mentioning them again. It seems odd that they’d never be mentioned again just because they aren’t physically there in the present. They’ll be in so much of what you do or your memories, so don’t feel the need to remove them from the conversation.

Talk to people

Some people won’t get it, but don’t hold that against them, just talk to people who you feel understand you. The ones who get it. It’ll help you feel comforted, supported and less alone which is really all we’re hoping for in life right?

What else helps when navigating grief?

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  • Hannah says:

    These are all such great tips, thank you for sharing Jess. I know the holidays can be the hardest part for families so sending love to your family during this time. xx

  • hanhappyhour says:

    Great post Jess, I can relate to so many of these points too. It’s a tough time of year for those of us grieving and I hope you manage to have a lovely Christmas, remembering your dad in whatever way you find most comforting. Lotsa love, Hannah xxx

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