Written by Ashley Barile
Coping with Grief and Loss

Coping with Grief and Loss

Grief is the intense response to losing someone you love. This life changing experience can cause a flood of emotions and you may wonder how to find the strength to move life forward. The article Coping with Loss: Bereavement and Grief, states that grief is likely to be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically. For instance, crying is a physical expression, while depression is a psychological expression. It is very important to allow yourself to express these feelings.

I’d like to share a few techniques that have helped me on my path to healing. I have found these to be effective ways to express what is going on inside and help me feel more grounded. Please be reminded that healing is a journey. You will have days where you feel comforted and strong. Other times, you will need personal space to mourn. I encourage you to try the following techniques that can help guide you through this difficult time.

Practice Free Form Writing – Find a safe, comfortable place to sit. Light a candle and imagine that it will trap negative emotions that will be released through your writing. Take a few deep breaths. When a thought enters your mind, write it down. You may not even finish the sentence before another thought pops up. Write that new thought down. Continue transferring your thoughts to the piece of paper. Some may not make perfect sense, and that is okay. You are using this time to release what has been building up inside of you. I find myself writing for about 30 minutes. You may want to do the same or even longer. When you feel you have reached a good place to stop writing, put your pen down. Do NOT read it over or share with anyone else. Take the paper and rip it up to throw away, burn it, or use a shredder. Imagine yourself letting go and allowing room for healing to take place. Try this technique a minimum of 3 times per week for a month. Pay attention to how you feel after 4 weeks. Regular free form writing can help reduce stress. It connects us to our inner self so that we can have a better understanding of our thoughts and feelings. If you find this to be therapeutic, continue this practice on a weekly basis going forward.

Have a TLC Day – We all need extra tender loving care when experiencing a loss. Take time for you and pamper your body and spirit.This could be a day outside surrounded by the sweet sounds of nature. A yoga and meditation session can help manage stress and improve mental clarity. I personally love visiting the spa when I’m feeling down. A massage or facial can soothe the body and quiet the mind. For added relaxation, I like to show up 30 minutes before my service to sit quietly with a cup of tea. I leave the entire day open to focus on self-care. It is so important to make ourselves a priority. Make this day about you and do what feels comfortable.

Talk It Out – While it is necessary to have alone time to process your grief, sharing your feelings with someone close can help build a support system. Think about the people in your life. Who do you feel most comfortable talking to? Reach out to this person and plan a time to have a conversation. Your support system may also include regular meetings with a professional. Counselors can teach you healthy strategies on how to deal with overwhelming emotions. They provide a private and safe environment where you can express yourself without judgement. I am a firm believer in counseling and these meetings have changed my life. Through this type of therapy, I achieved a clearer understanding of who I am and how I function in this world. I learned to sit with my feelings, even in the darkest moments, and just be. Be sad, be angry, be hurt. Resist the idea of running from these feelings. By giving ourselves the time and space to embrace emotions, we are inviting the healing process to take place.

Sending you strength and light.

Take one day at a time.

Warmest thoughts,

Ashley Barile

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