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Grief is one of the hardest emotions you’ll ever experience. It feels different for everyone, and there isn’t a textbook response or a way to know what to expect.
Researchers have studied the subject extensively, and they largely agree that grief is not linear, and everyone grieves differently. This is especially true when it comes to unexpected tragedies like the loss the Sebring community faced this week.
No matter how you process grief, one thing is certain — you’ll search for ways to make yourself feel better.
You learn that, while the one thing you want most isn’t an option, there are other comforts that will help you get through the day. When you need a moment to yourself, or to step away from your emotions and collect yourself at the end of the day, try these simple activities:
- Have a walking meeting with your favorite colleague. Getting outside will feel great, and the endorphins from exercise help too.
- Go get a treat during your break. You may need a change of scenery, and a dose of one of your favorite drinks or snacks won’t hurt either.
- Find a place that’s just yours and go there when you need to catch your breath. When things get overwhelming, having a spot that’s all yours that makes you feel safe is a huge help. Whether you need to cry for a minute or stomp your feet, it’s okay.
- Treat yourself to your favorite dinner or dessert. Pampering yourself after a hard day is a good way to remind yourself that there are still things to be enjoyed, especially when you may not feel like eating.
- Watch your favorite comedy shows. You may not feel like laughing, but you can count on your favorite shows to bring a smile to your face, even if for a moment.
- Ignore the news. The news is adding to your stress, even if it’s not related to this particular tragedy. It’s okay to tune it out for a bit.
- Take a break from social media. When a tragedy gets sensationalized, it spreads all over social media. When strangers who have nothing to do with it are posting about something that is very personal for you, it can be hard to process. Unplugging can help you begin to heal.
- Get out into the nature. Whether it’s resting on a beach or taking a walk in the woods, breaking up your usual routine will help distract you for a while.
- Draw a bubble bath or take a long shower. You may not feel like you have the energy to take care of yourself, but you’ll feel better when you smell like your favorite soap.
- Curl up with your favorite book. Books can be treasured friends and a welcome distraction when you’re grieving. You may not get as far as you usually would when reading, and that’s okay. But being invited into another world, even for a few minutes, is a huge relief.
- Attend your favorite exercise class. You may be angry and frustrated, and it can help to channel that energy into your workout.
- Hang out with your loved ones. Friends and family are likely experiencing the same feelings that you are. Being reminded you aren’t alone gives you a support system to call when you need help.
- Let yourself grieve. Whether it’s crying, screaming or being silent, all of these are scientifically recognized stages of grief. It’s normal, natural and necessary to release that emotion in whatever way feels right to you. It’s healthy to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to grieve.
- Call a loved one. Getting in touch with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, or whose voice you love to hear, will add a sense of stability in an uncertain time.
Finding little ways that energize you or return peace to your day can help you get through this devastating time. Even though it feels like healing will never come, time helps ease the burden and finding ways to pamper yourself will make a profound difference.