During these trying times, we are all grieving in different ways. People are experiencing tremendous losses and many feel like they are grieving alone. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, a job, or the feeling of structure and routine, loss is present for nearly everyone.
High school and college students do not get to experience the graduation ceremony they have awaited, and rituals and gatherings are postponed indefinitely. During these times more than ever, it is important to be supportive and reach out to your loved ones, and below are a few ways to do so.
- Stay in Contact
During times like these, we are all feeling somewhat isolated and separated from some of our loved ones or friends. By reaching out with a phone call, text, or even a handwritten letter, you can make this person feel supported and connected. Keeping up with your loved ones and those who are grieving around you is crucial when there is a loss of human interaction.
- Refrain from Comparison
When talking through difficult conversations like death or other forms of losses, it may be easy to relate it back to yourself to make the other person feel like they are not alone. However, this comparison can make them feel like their emotions are invalid and not understood. Rather than comparing their loss to another loss, listen to what they are going through and be there for emotional support.
This allows them to express their emotions and sometimes just talking about the situation rather than keeping it bottled up can help improve their situation.
- Assist with meals
When someone is grieving a loss, it can be hard to get off of the couch or out of bed to cook a meal. By going to the grocery store for them and preparing food for them, this can improve their day greatly and show them how much you support them.
When someone experiences a loss, their whole routine will feel out of line and it will take time to adjust, so anything you can do to keep their routine moving will be greatly appreciated.
Although there are many ways to show your support and for loved ones who are grieving, one of the most important things to do is just be there with open ears. Even though it may seem like the person needs advice, they often just need a place to let out what is going through their head and feel like they have someone there for support.
Unless asked for advice, the best thing to do is acknowledge their feelings and let them know that what they are going through is very normal during a loss.
- Avoid Judgement
Since everyone grieves in different ways, it may take your loved one a lot longer to adjust emotionally and mentally than you would expect. Instead of judging them and wishing that they would be back to normal, you need to just provide support for as long as they need it and let them adjust.
Especially during difficult and unpredictable times like these, someone may be grieving over something that you may not think is a big deal in compared to other events going on. However, judging the situation and providing these types of opinions will only hurt the other person and make their feelings seem invalid.
There are many different ways to be supportive in times of grief, and these different solutions will vary based on the situation and what the other person is going through. It is important to recognize that during times like these, people may be grieving things that stray from the norm, but being there for them and reaching out for support will help them in more ways than you could imagine.
5 Supportive Actions To Help Those Grieving
Grief is something all of us have to face in life at one point or another. Sometimes it can be devastating and debilitating. One thing is sure, the grief process is made much more healthy and effective with support.
Do you know someone who is grieving? Grief is often related to the loss of a loved one, but it can be related to the loss of anything. You can grieve the loss of a job, a lifestyle, or even an old home. Eventually you will know someone who is grieving, so it’s good to know some ways to help.
A grieving person may not be up front about how badly your support is needed, but that may be due to denial or pride. You need unobtrusive ways to comfort them that make them feel loved and accepted. Read on for 5 supportive actions to help those grieving.
Be genuine when you communicate with someone who is grieving. Avoid minimizing, giving advice not asked for or offering a bunch of solutions. The grieving don’t need a fixer, they need an ear. One of the best things to say is, “I’m here and I care.”
Just Be There
The fist and easiest thing you can do is just be there for someone. Show up, don’t bring up anything sad if they don’t, and be a presence in the life of your grieving friend or loved one. They may not want to do whatever you usually do together, or that may be exactly what they need. Just be a consistent, positive presence in their life.
Offer Practical Support
Sometimes a grieving person needs practical help. Grief can cause you to let go of yourself and your home. If you notice that your friend or loved one could use someone to run to the store for them, help them clean, or take care of their kids, be that person! Offer your help. If they don’t accept it, don’t be offended. They will appreciate that you asked and remember you if they change their mind.
Let Them Talk About The Deceased
You might think that talking about a lost friend or loved one might further someone’s pain, but the opposite is true. Never talking about them and acting like they didn’t exist is denial and it will worsen someone’s pain.
So, if someone wants to talk a bit about their lost loved one, let them. They will probably want to reminisce about the good times. They may also need to work through grief about things they did or didn’t do while that person was around.
Deal With Their Guilt
According to Psychotherapist Mark Tyrell, you should encourage them to let go of the guilt and commit to living a life that will honor the deceased, even if that means forgetting about them for a little while.
This advice may seem contradictory to the last topic, but sometimes grieving people carry so much guilt that it’s best to take it slow. If they need to focus on their life before they can let go of the past, then that is the best option. At other times, your grieving friend or loved one might need to talk through their guilt with you.
Distinguish Grief From Trauma
Grief is a response to trauma. Trauma is an event and people process trauma in different ways than they do grief. However, the two are related. If your friend or loved one is having flashbacks to an event, and terror rather than sadness, they may be experiencing trauma. This trauma will have to be worked through in order to deal with their grief.
For help with both grief and trauma, professionals are available. A professional will know the steps to take to get your mental health back on track. Make sure, though, that you are ready for help. Follow all the steps on this list and pair that with a desire to be better. It’ll take a while, but you will get there.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.