The Grief Girl

Life After Loss - Navigating Grief & Returning to Joy

April 24, 2019

Women's Wellness Day Talk - 2019 

Key Takeaways from Todays Talk ... 

Grief is about loss, not death

Grief is a natural response to loss of any kind – not just death. You might mourn the loss of your career when you’re laid off or retire. A divorce may leave you reeling over lost companionship or an abrupt change of lifestyle. Addicts often grieve the drug or substance they give up through recovery. Where there is life, there will always be loss. Diminishing health, financial loss, family estrangement, injury or the death of a pet are losses that can – and should – be grieved. Recognizing and working through that grief is essential in helping you live your best life.

There is no destination

Grief is often described as a “journey,” because it catapults you into unknown territory with unforeseen obstacles and setbacks. But it’s important to remember this is a journey without a single destination. Your grief is as unique as you are; there is no universal process that ends with “getting over it.” Just as love has no end, neither does grief. While the pain of your loss will never disappear, it will evolve and transform. Your journey is the process of determining how this grief now fits into your life, and how it will coexist with joy – because I’m here to tell you it can. Don’t allow yourself – or anyone else – to put your grief on a timeline or expect you to follow a specific pattern. Your journey is just that: yours.

Grief knows no ‘stages’

You’re likely familiar with the concept of grief “stages,” but I’ve learned through training and my own experience that these are myths. Just as there is no singular destination on your journey of grief, there are no predestined routes. However, there are many common responses to grief, and recognizing these in yourself can give you clarity when you no longer recognize yourself. Grief is a roller coaster; it doesn’t follow a linear pattern. It can hit you out of nowhere when you least expect it. Subscribing to the idea that grief can be neatly organized into phases can be discouraging when you experience regression, which is an inevitable part of the journey.

Healing requires mental and physical self-care

Grief is a journey of emotions, but you should never forget the connection between your mind and body. Returning to joy requires self-care, both mentally and physically. Sleep, nutrition and exercise all have an impact on mental wellbeing. This is essential to remember when you’re in the healing process. Neglecting your physical health can exacerbate the pain you feel after a loss, while the pain of loss can cause you to neglect your physical health. The only way to break this cycle and return to joy is to make mental and physical self-care a daily priority.

You will feel joy again

Grief can be a tunnel of darkness. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s difficult to imagine a life where light, laughter and joy are present. That’s when it’s critical to just believe. Tell yourself you can be happy again, even if you don’t feel it today. Eventually, you will. It’s important to remember that returning to joy doesn’t mean banishing your grief. Returning to joy means learning to feel love, pleasure, excitement and happiness despite your grief. Your grief is part of you now, and that’s a beautiful thing, because at the root of grief is one thing: love.

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