Loss is one of the most difficult human experiences. The feelings are often overwhelming, painful, and difficult to cope with. Grief is the natural response to experiencing a loss—whether it’s the death of a loved one, a health issue, or financial or work-related losses. One of the hardest parts about grieving is that it can feel as though it has no end. When you have experienced a great loss, you may often feel like you will never get over it – as if the pain will never go away and the thoughts that bring you sadness will never subside.
People in our communities have experienced a lot of grief over the last two years. There have been many losses related to health and illness. And there have been many losses with respect to finances and employment.
Although the amount of time spent grieving varies from person to person, the pain of loss does lessen with time. Depending on the circumstances and the type of loss you suffered, you may still think about it months or years later, and the memories may bring you deep sadness, but time really does provide some healing. However, even if you’re in the midst of the most difficult period in your grieving, there are a few strategies that can help you get through the lows. We’ll discuss these coping skills below.
Avoid ignoring the pain. This could make the grieving process last longer.
It’s important to talk about your loss with someone or express your pain in some way.
Bottling up feelings can lead to more intense feelings of sadness and despair. With time, these intense feelings can turn into anger or even apathy. Apathy occurs when emotions are so overwhelming that you might cope by detaching yourself from your own emotions. This can lead to an inability to feel sadness or other negative emotions. But the numbing also means you won’t feel happiness or other positive feelings either. This can occur when you bottle up feelings for long periods. Ignoring the pain can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.
Talk to Loved Ones
If you have people you trust in your life, talk to them about how you feel. If it makes you uncomfortable to do that, push yourself to do so. The discomfort you feel about opening up is a signal that the difficulty you face in opening up is something you need to overcome.
Talk to a Counselor
If you need to take baby steps to open up to loved ones, talk to a counsellor. Our members enjoy using the counselling services from MindBeacon and our EFAP.
Write About It
If talking about your loss is too painful, start writing about how you feel. Holding on to deep emotions can cause stress leading to increased blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. By writing about those emotions, you can boost immune function as well as mood and well-being.
Organize a Special Event or Activity to Remember a Loved One
If you have lost someone close to you, like a family member or a pet, you can express emotion by doing something special in remembrance of your loved one. This is why rituals like funerals or memorials, although painful to go through, help with the grieving process.
Know that it takes time and don’t pressure yourself because of the time it takes.
Grief is painful not just mentally and emotionally, but also physically. Getting up and going to work might require a major effort. And working in the construction industry means that you really need energy and motivation to do your job. Regardless of if you’re working with your hands or problem solving mentally – grief can deplete your energy. You might struggle to eat or sleep at night, which will inevitably impact your strength and stamina. It can also cause inattention and difficulty concentrating, making it difficult for you to focus on the job and follow directions. Grief can cause an almost constant feeling of anxiety and nervousness, which you might feel through stomach aches, headaches, or bodily aches and pain.
It’s normal to want the grief to pass quickly because it’s extremely painful and interferes with your work and daily life. However, this isn’t something you can rush through. In fact, if you try to force yourself to stop thinking about it or to “feel better,” you might only achieve feeling frustrated and guilty.
Depending on your unique circumstance, the worst and most debilitating stages of grief can take weeks or sometimes months. After a few months, some people are able to get back to normal functioning. But be gentle with yourself. Be patient and allow yourself this time in your life where you might not perform at your usual level. It’s to be expected. Inform your boss or supervisor of what’s going on. Taking some of the pressure off and just focusing on your healing will help you get through this time.