There’s no correct way to process grief and healing is non-linear. But healing can happen with these 3 tips to help you process unresolved grief.
There’s no handbook for healing. Everyone’s journey looks different. Grief recovery is a continuous, nonlinear process that can be spurred by the death of a loved one or enduring a natural disaster. You might be overcome with emotion one day, and feel “fine” the next. That can be confusing, and you might find yourself asking, “Am I healing correctly?
The truth is, there is no correct way to heal. But there are a few things to keep in mind that can help you on your journey. Here are 3 tips for grief recovery that will help you fully process, no matter what that looks like for you or how confusing your journey might feel.
3 Tips For When Grief Recovery Doesn’t Look How You Expected
- Don’t put grief on a timeline.
You may be tempted to expect that if X amount of time has passed, you’ll be finished grieving. Or that if you haven’t cried for a while, you must be over it. You might even feel like you’ve missed a window where you were “supposed to” be feeling something you haven’t felt yet.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to feel numb for a while after a loss. This doesn’t mean that you’re done grieving, or that you never needed to grieve. You may just be at the beginning of your journey.
“Numbness” is a trauma response. It’s your body’s way of protecting you from feeling the full impact of the situation all at once. If you’ve been feeling numb, you can start by giving yourself permission to feel. It’s not easy, but actively feeling the pain is an important part of resolving it.
- Allow yourself to feel exactly how you feel.
–no matter what the emotion is. You’re allowed to feel any and every emotion, without judgment or guilt. It won’t be easy, but sitting with the pain will move you further forward on your healing journey than “keeping busy” will.
Distracting yourself for a while with business as usual doesn’t mean the emotions are gone. It just means they’re being suppressed. Over time, that unresolved grief compounds and it will seep out elsewhere in your life. That can look like anything from drinking more alcohol than usual or overeating to nail biting, skin picking, or hair pulling.
Those are all examples of your body asking you to find a way to relieve your pain somewhere, somehow. So once you’ve given yourself permission to feel those feelings, be sure you have a healthy outlet for expressing them.
- Find at least one listening partner.
A great outlet for expressing your emotions is by talking to a grief support partner. If you’re not a part of a grief recovery program, consider finding one to two good friends who you trust to be your listening partners.
You can ask if they’re willing to hear you out, and you can let them know that they don’t need to try to fix anything. Their role is to listen to you with open ears and open hearts, completely judgment free.
An ideal listening partner will be comfortable with the full gamut of emotions. This is a vulnerable time, and you deserve space to say whatever you want, however you need to say it. Remember, the full range of your experience is welcome. This is your unique healing journey.
There is Power in Healing
If you feel like unresolved grief is holding you back from living the life you deserve, you are not alone. We see you, we know you’re hurting, and want to offer you a safe place to share your story and feel supported in your healing journey. Contact us today to set up a free discovery call and spend some time with us – we’re here for you.
Sharon Brubaker is a certified Life Coach and credentialed Grief Specialist who, along with her team, teaches women who are grieving how to process their thoughts and emotions. To learn more about navigating grief within the family, listen to the full podcast episode here or download my free e-Book, The Griever’s Guide, which equips you with the tools to live life after grief; because no griever should have to navigate a broken heart on their own.