Grief is a natural response to loss. This could be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy or pet. For some, it may be the loss of control and independence that comes with getting older.
Others experience loss due to children leaving home, separation from friends and family or moving out of their family home into an aged care facility. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief someone is likely to feel.
Everyone experiences grief and loss differently. It is normal to feel sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, confused, frustrated, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable, resentful or numb. These feelings can affect both physical and mental health,
It can take time to work through the feelings of grief and loss. Some people may grieve for weeks or months and others may experience grief for many years. Having the support of friends and family is important. Some people may also find it helpful to seek professional help.
Beyond Blue recommendations
Beyond Blue recommends the following ways to help yourself:
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling.
- Consider joining a support group.
- Take care of your physical health including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.
- Lighten your load by asking friends, family members or work colleagues to help you with some chores or commitments.
- Incorporate relaxation and gentle exercise can help with managing stress levels.
- Keep doing things you normally enjoy, even if you don’t really feel like doing them.
How to help someone you know
If someone close to you is experiencing grief and loss, you can help them by:
- Asking how they’re feeling and taking the time to listen and understand what they are going through.
- Talking about everyday life – their loss and grief doesn’t have to be the focus of all your conversations.
- Asking them how you can help. A few home-cooked meals, doing the shopping, or offering to go for a walk or do something enjoyable with them can all help someone through their grief.
- Encouraging them to seek professional support if their grief doesn’t seem to be easing over time.
Need more help?
GriefLine is an Australia-wide grief helpline that offers free telephone, online and face-to-face grief counselling services. Call 1300 845 745, from midday to 3 am, 7 days per week