Spring is a time of renewal and transition. However, it can also be a time of reflection on the past and those we miss dearly.
Additionally, we have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for over two years now, adding to our experiences around loss. COVID-19 has surpassed roughly 993,000 deaths in the United States, leaving millions of Americans in grief. We are likely to see more people whose grief doesn't lessen with time in this current environment. This fact has been emphasized by The American Psychiatric Association (APA). It recently announced the addition of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) to the newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR) manual.
Many of us are familiar with the stages of grief. We are told that it's a process and has to run its course. The grief cycle (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) allows us the right to give ourselves grace for how we feel and the mental challenges we face during the grieving process. However, grief can leave many people feeling hopeless and frustrated with its long-lasting effects. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, here are four things you can do to manage your grieving process in a healthy way.
Self-care is critical right now. Self-care looks different for everyone, and it is not selfish. Regular exercise, good nutrition, prioritizing sleep, connecting with trusted friends and family members, mindfulness, meditation, and connecting to nature are great ways to practice self-care and put your needs first. Self-care allows us space to tap into our subconscious feelings and thoughts and process them in a healthy manner. Self-care lets us get to know the authentic person inside and embrace our emotional functions.
Practice Grace & Gratitude.
"Grace releases and affirms. It doesn't smother. Grace values the dignity of individuals. It doesn't destroy. Grace supports and encourages. It isn't jealous or suspicious." – Charles Swindoll
Grace gives us space to do the things we enjoy and honor our experiences. Focusing on what we have and those in our community who are loving and caring helps us stand firm in giving ourselves grace. Try making a gratitude jar. Put 20-30 things you are grateful for in the jar, and every morning pull one new thing out of the jar for which you are thankful. Practicing gratitude is an active way to give ourselves grace and be good to ourselves.
Say no to "should".
Many of us struggle with I "should" send that gift, I "should" help that friend, and I "should" have done more. The past is behind us, the future is uncertain, but we have the present. Telling ourselves we "should" instead of "can I" or "do I feel" keeps us in the space of punishing ourselves, which is the opposite of grace.
Ask for help.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Grief can be isolating, and sometimes if we don't find outlets to process our grief, it can turn on us. Doing so can lead to unhealthy coping ways, such as drinking, drugs, and other unhealthy behaviors. Know you are not alone. Talk to a mental health professional, a best friend, or someone in your church community. They can normalize your feelings and provide accountability for your journey in healing.
Evan W. Smith Funeral Services offers grief counseling and other mental health services to the Delaware community in collaboration with Leslie Holley, a Nationally Certified Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. “A Healing Place” is a series of workshops offered on a quarterly basis where Leslie will facilitate sessions to help participants learn about the grief cycle and how to move through the grieving process in a healthy way. In addition, monthly informative blogs like this article will cover a range of mental health and grief topics. You can also access our weekly social media posts. All of these services are offered at no additional charge as part of the continuity of care represented in every one of our funeral services packages. For more information, please contact our Wilmington or Dover office.
About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services
Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from diverse cultural backgrounds, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.