Grieving is a natural process for any person who has lost a loved one. It is complex, but it also affects our emotional wellness. It also differs from one person to another. Every individual has a?different coping mechanism?to overcome the loss of their loved ones.
In the?wellness workshop session?conducted by CecureUs, our expert psychologist Dr. Porrselvi shares simple tips to handle grief to watch out for our wellness. The?current global pandemic?has pushed us into collective trauma with someone or the other we know in our lives or at work, enduring terrible loss. At this juncture, we require a steady and practical approach to handling our loss, and we also need the knowledge of how to help our colleagues at work, neighbours, and friends cope with their?personal losses. Knowing the benefits of the Employee Assistance Program at work will come to our rescue during such times.
Five Stages Of Grief:
Be it the?loss of a family member or a friend, or even the?loss of a job/work, a person goes through the five stages of grief to overcome it.
Denial is the first emotional response to the loss, accompanied by?shock, sadness, refusal to believe(disbelief),?confusion, and the fear of what will happen next, all of which hinder emotional wellness. There is a feeling of helplessness in the person going through denial that calls for assistance and support.
Once the person overcomes denial, there is a fit of insurmountable anger. It could be on oneself, God, the healthcare system, or anyone the person feels accountable for the loss they are going through.
Bargain comes with its lists of ifs, but, and What if?s. The person wishes for a different outcome. They endure a volley of emotions like how the unfortunate circumstance in personal life or work could have been avoided or how an alternate action could have been taken to avoid the loss. There is a pang of guilt, a constant nagging feeling that seems unavoidable, and there is no holistic wellness in the grieving individual.
Depression/Sadness is the emotional response when reality begins to sink in. This stage could last from a few days to a few weeks. When you notice your loved one or a work friend in depression, counsel them to take professional help through the Employee Assistance Programs at work.
This is the final stage in the grieving process, where the person learns to accept and adapt to reality and moves on, evolving in emotional wellness.
Although theoretically, the five stages of grief are such, the reality of achieving the final stage of emotional wellness is far from expectations. The key to kickstarting the grieving process is accepting that You Are Not Alone. There are techniques employed by a counsellor that help an employee or their loved ones handle grief through the Employee Assistance Programs. Also, there is no hard and fast rule as to how long the process will take. For some people, the process of grief completes its course within weeks, while for some, it takes a few months, and for others, it might take years. This is where the Employee Assistance Programs are beneficial and cost-effective. These assistance programs offer confidentiality to employees or their loved ones seeking support. If you feel yourself or a loved one or a friend at work struggling through the grieving process, guide them to a professional through the Employee Assistance Programs.
How can grieving people handle themselves?
- Respect the fear:Any grieving person has an accompanying fear that jeopardizes their emotional wellness. One should respect the fear and accept that it is inevitable in the early stages of loss. If there is a struggle with this first step, one should approach a counsellor through their Employee Assistance Program.
- Do not compare.Know that the process of grieving is unique, and comparing it with others will give rise to pessimism, making it hard to cope.
- Shun Avoidance Coping:Some people focus on everything else, like work or other routines apart from the loss. This is called?Avoidance coping. This only tends to delay the grieving process and suppress the actual emotions, leading to mental health issues that compromise wellness. The right way to cope is to feel the loss and work their way through it.
- Embrace your emotions:It is OK to feel sad, lonely, and upset. It is all a part of coping that will lead to wellness later on. There is no?Rule Book?on responding to loss, and it entirely depends on the person?s relationships and experiences. It is crucial to let these emotions be a part of grieving and wellness rather than suppressing them.
- Healthily release grief:Invest time and energy in activities and work, experiences, and friends that help release grief rather than adding to it.
- Baby steps. Focus on one day or one work or one activity at a time. Pondering over the uncertainty of the future will make a person restless and cause unwanted anxiety.
- Espouse the new you:A grieving person can be less social, less friendly, less active, or lonely than before. Appreciate the personal growth that comes with the change.
- Grief has no time frame:Some people grieve even years after the loss, and as long as it does not affect their regular activities or work, it is absolutely OK and acceptable.
- Move ahead:Instead of moving ahead ?From? the loss, a person should learn to move ahead ?With? the loss.
- Smile:Smiling doesn?t mean we have forgotten the loved one or their loss. So, do not miss out on any opportunity to smile. This can get you through the tough days at work.
- Daily Routine:Have a personal and work routine and stick to it no matter how hard it gets.
- Physical Health:Focus on physical health. Incorporating Yoga, exercise, and meditation releases endorphins that keep one fit and happy. There are customized workshops that one can avail of through the Employee Assistance Programs that help in this aspect.
Tips to support a friend/family member/ colleague through grief:
- Help the person accept the loss. Encourage them to embrace their new self without any judgment.
- Offer assistance in taking one day at a time.
- Help them stick to their new routine in personal life or at work.
- If the person compares themselves with others or their old selves, assure them that they are doing their best. If they are still feeling low and let down, suggest them to take counselling through the Employee Assistance Programs.
- Express love by taking care of them. Sometimes, simple tasks like helping them buy groceries or ordering a meal will make them smile.
- Be Silent together. Sometimes, all a grieving person needs are our mere presence. It is more comforting than words.
- Never get offended by their behaviours or refusals, and do not give up on them. Always remember that they are?coping.
Words/Phrases to avoid while talking to a grieving person:
While talking to a grieving person, one should be very careful with the choice of words. They are vulnerable, and whatever we say tends to impact them drastically.
For instance, the phrases,
- How are you? What/How did it happen?
- Did you not find out early?
- They are in a better place.
- It will get easier.
- I know how you feel.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- At least they lived a long life.
- God never gives us more than we can handle.
- Do not cry/ Do not feel bad.
- It could have been worse,
act as emotional triggers for a grieving person and adds to their pain. Instead of these, simple phrases like ?What are you doing?? ?Do you need any help?? or talking about our relationship and connection with the lost soul will make them feel better.
When does a grieving individual need professional help?
- The person is ?Stuck? in the denial phase and refuses to believe the loss even after many weeks/months.
- The person is encountering suicidal thoughts or has extreme insomnia/ fatigue.
- The person is hallucinating or unable to perform routine activities.
- There is insurmountable, pervasive guilt that refuses to go away.
- The person is depressed for a long time.
?Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them ? Leo Tolstoy.?
In these testing times, let us pledge to watch out for our loved ones and help them in whatever way we can by providing them with moral support and guiding them through the Employee Assistance Programs. Instead of healing alone, let us learn to heal together! Cheers!
Do not miss out on our?CecureUs Wellness Workshops?conducted every week to guide you with various coping strategies during the current pandemic.