By Carola Stepper, RN, CHPN, LAc
Registered Nurse, Licensed Acupuncturist, Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist certified by the Grief Recovery Institute
The information shared here are my personal and professional suggestions as an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist. They are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not provide medical or treatment advice and are not a substitute or replacement for advice from a mental health or medical professional.
Most people think of grief when a person or pet dies, but there are many other types of grief, such as divorce, moving, retirement, changes in health or finances, as well as intangible losses, such as faith, trust, or safety. Grief is a normal and natural reaction to a significant emotional loss of any kind.
Grief is individual and unique; it can’t be compared to losses others have experienced. Everyone who experiences a loss grieves in their own individual way. There are no reactions that are so universal that all people will experience them.
Grief is not a pathological condition.
Self care is essential: Get enough sleep, eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, go for a walk or any exercise you enjoy, balancing time with friends and family with alone time, practicing good personal hygiene. Do things which make you happy!
Expect some of the common symptoms of grieving: Fatigue, insomnia, aches and pains, headaches, forgetfulness, difficulty focusing, lack of interest, little patience, appetite or digestive changes and more.
Express your emotions and tears as they come up if at all possible. For example this could mean saying “I feel….. today”. Ask trusted friends to simply listen, without advice, comment, or their own editorial on their loss. Getting acknowledgement and being witnessed, can be profound.
Professionals who can support grievers are mental/behavioral health professionals, medical professionals, spiritual and religious professionals, hospice bereavement specialists, 24 hour crisis lines and more.
Grief Recovery Method Specialists are trained by the Grief Recovery Institute . They offer in person or online classes, which are based on “The Grief Recovery Handbook” by J.W.James and R. Friedman. It has been shared for over 40 years, in six continents and more than 20 languages.
These classes are an action-oriented process for effectively assisting grievers in dealing with personal emotional loss, no matter the cause. The Grief Recovery Method (GRM) is the only evidence-based grief recovery program in the world.
According to the GRM there are 6 myths about dealing with grief, none are helpful to heal from grief:
Don’t feel bad. Replace the loss. Grieve alone. Just give it time. Be strong for others. Keep busy.
Watch if you are using any of the following behaviors to deal with grief. They feel good for a short time, but don’t help you to recover from grief: Food, alcohol, drugs, anger, exercise, fantasy (movies, TV, Social Media, Books), isolation, shopping, sex, workaholism.
Other grief support includes: Books, support groups, lectures, seminars, meditation and more.
Everyone will walk their path of grieving their loss their own way.
This means you and me as well, as we are all grievers!