"There is no time limit to loss and bereavement. "
This week is UK National Grief Awareness Week (2nd-7th Dec) http://nationalgriefawarenessweek.org/ - As the NHS, bereavement charities and qualified grief recovery specialist continue to play a vital role in Covid-19 response support; Author of 'Unseen', Health and Life Coach and Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, Carol Wright, from Northampton, shares her personal experience of loss together with her expert advice and action steps on how to navigate loss and bereavement.
Carol has experienced, lived with and overcome many losses throughout her life; starting with childhood experiences, being brought up in a divorced family where she never saw her birth father - a loss that many children experience, to career issues, the loss of health and to the loss of parents and the experience of grieving close friends and family.
In September this year, Carol became a global bestselling author when her second book, ‘UNSEEN – How to recognise the link between loss and its devastating impact on the body’. Loss can destroy people in so many unseen ways. Within this bare-all book, Carol focuses on her personal experiences of loss throughout her lifetime and combines this with her health coaching experience and grief recovery training to guide those struggling with grief to help others understand some of the unseen physical effects that grief can have on our bodies, she also offers others hope, guidance, tips and methods for coping with some somewhat taboo subjects too.
This week, Carol shares 10 Steps To Help You Navigate Loss And Bereavement, she said;
1. Your reaction to loss is normal. Tears and sadness are a normal part of this process. There is no time limit for this. You don’t need to be strong. You may just want to show your emotions’ and this is ok to do. Reassure others that crying is a normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind.
2. Your grief and reaction to it, is yours alone. No one really knows how you feel as everyone feels different (even though they may tell you they know how you feel). Everyone is individual in their feelings and the relationship with the person or loss that they are navigating.
3. People expect you to ‘Grieve alone’. This may be unhealthy at times and may cause people to dip in anxiety and depression. Remember, it is safe to talk and highly recommended -find someone to listen to you. For those that are supporting people, remember to listen to their experiences. Yours will be different and you will not be able to compare yours to theirs.
4. Try to recognise your response to signs of unhappiness – are you eating at odd hours, not when you are hungry and just for the sake of something to do? This could mean that you are trying to mask a pain. Emotional eating is a common factor together with drinking more alcohol, spending more money to make you feel good and staying up later watching tv instead of going to bed. Be mindful of any changes that you see.
5. Try going for a walk for at least 15 mins in nature. Listen to your surroundings and just watch and be present. Being in nature is good for your mind, body and you are getting movement into your day to help you sleep better at night too.
6. Daily self-care can improve you physically, emotionally and mentally and gives you the ability to care for others in this time of need. Plan some relaxation into your day so you do not get interrupted. Try listening to music or a podcast or run a warm bath.
7. Try turning off distractions when going to bed to enjoy a peaceful sleep at least 30 minutes to an hour before your bedtime. This will aid your sleep through the night.
8. Breathe - Pay attention to your breath and take deep breaths through your nose throughout the day. Be mindful that you breathe this way as we tend to breathe through our mouths more than we realise.
9. Listen out for someone saying the classic words, ‘I’m fine!’ It’s an easy way to avoid sharing true feelings and a way of getting out of having a conversation. Make space for them in the day and allow them to talk to you in safety of not being judged.
10. Questions - If you’re concerned about a colleague, don’t ask “How are you?”, ask “What’s been happening with you during Lockdown”. This will avoid the ‘I’m fine’ answer.
Carol Wright offers The Grief Recovery Method online for more information please visit: https://healthymindsmatter.co.uk
To obtain a copy of Carol's bestselling book 'Unseen – How to recognise the link between loss and its devastating impact on the body' please visit Amazon - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08J1V9PWV