Now that you’ve cleared some space out of your brain, take a deep breath. Breathe and allow yourself to grieve. Don’t think that the grieving process is only something we do when someone dies. Anytime you face a challenge, you may need to spend some time and allow yourself to grieve. Whether you lost a job or a relationship ended, something changed in your lilfe taking you off the path you felt you were on and that change might need time for you to grieve it’s loss.
Set a time limit
I’ve learned a few things about grief over the years. When I was younger and would face something that felt like it was destroying my world I’d set aside time to allow myself to have a pity party. Depending upon the severity of the issue I’d assign it some amount of time. For something small I might only give myself an hour or an evening. For something larger I’d give myself an entire weekend. I’d mope and complain, eat ice cream or other comfort foods, sometimes stay in bed all day. The big point here is don’t get stuck there. Many people get to this place and they live there permanently and their lives are miserable and they cannot get out of their pit of despair.
So decide how much time you need to spend in this process based on how serious it is. Set yourself a reasonable time limit and then grieve! Cry, scream, hit a pillow. Sleep all day. Let yourself feel the feelings you are having. It is important to acknokwledge our feelings but we don’t have to allow those feelings to control us. Give them the appropriate amount of time and space but don’t allow them to consume you.
If you are dealing with something more serious, terminal illness, death of a loved one, etc., then do understand there are stages of grief. You cannot go through all of those stages in one weekend. That process will take longer. However, you can still give yourself a time limit. Many religions and as we are currently watching with the death of Queen Elizabeth, royalty has it’s procedures and time limits on what is proper. In the past there have been appropriate time limits set on when people could or should do certain things after the death of a loved one. Be sure to give yourself an appropriate amount of time to grieve.
Grief is a process
One thing I wish someone had told me about the grieving process is that you won’t always go through the stages in the order they are written. It’s not a checklist of things to do and then you’re done. You may wind up jumping around in the process or returning repeatedly to one phase. There doesn’t even seem to be an agreement on how many stages of grief there are. I’ve seen lists with 5 stages and other lists with 10 stages!
For larger challenges, you may revisit grief in the future
For me the anger phase is the one that I get pulled back into at times. SInce my children were quite young when their father died, things happen as they grow up and going through an experience where their father should be here can bring up new feelings of anger. It is important to acknowledge those feelings and give yourself time to grieve as this is a new loss you didn’t even realize at the time.