Throughout life, we experience differing levels of grief, following a variety of situations, e.g. the death of a loved one, a divorce, the end of a relationship, a significant change of work and life-changing news, etc.
Kübler-Ross (1969) identified five stages of grief that are commonly observed when individuals experience a significant loss, e.g. denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
The five stages of grief are not linear, and individuals may not experience all stages - whether you experience all stages or not, the grief that we feel can be overwhelming at times!
Many people find the five stages of grief useful for understanding the emotions that they experience following a loss. I have used the five stages of grief when coaching leadership teams through organisational change. I also found myself drawn to the stages recently, following the unexpected news of the death of my dear friend, Anthony 🤍 .
While we grieve and experience loss in different ways, here are some tips for managing grief that you may find helpful.
Tip #1 - Give yourself permission to grieve
In the fast-paced world that we live in, we can overlook our need to grieve in favour of resuming 'normal' life as quickly as possible. This may result in delayed grief; therefore, take the time to embrace your emotions (sharing your thoughts and feeling with a confidant) and allow yourself to experience the grieving process.
Tip #2 - Let go
Let go of any guilt you may have surrounding the circumstances of your loss.
"Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. The only cure for grief is to grieve." – Earl Grollman
Tip #3 - Seek support
Seek support if your grief is so intense that it is preventing you from living a normal life.
Remember that whatever you are going through, you can contact Samaritans, any time, from any phone, for free on: 116 123.
Tip #4 - Honour their memory
In the event of the death of a loved one, when you are ready, plan a positive activity or experience in their honour. E.g. sign up for a charity event, travel to a place that your loved one had planned to visit, participate in a hobby that your loved one enjoyed, plant a tree in your loved one’s memory.
Tip #5 - Live every day with purpose, passion and integrity
Despite the loss that you have experienced, acknowledge all of the blessings that you have. While every day might not be a ‘10’ day, there is something good in every day.
Embrace life with both hands and seize every opportunity to do what makes you happy. Open your mind and heart to new experiences, spend quality time with your loved ones and take positive action to live your dreams.
We grieve and experience loss in different ways
Regardless of the type of loss, or grief that you have experienced; be kind to yourself, embrace your emotions, give yourself permission to grieve, seek support and remember that there is hope and 'light at the end of the tunnel'.