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Grief Awareness Week

08 Dec 21

Although we’re coming to end of Grief Awareness Week, it’s a good time to take a step back and remind ourselves that grief is something we can experience at any time of the year. Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things you can go through - we all grieve when this happens and it’s a process that’s completely natural but can take many different forms and affect everyone differently. Because it’s such a difficult thing to experience, understanding the impact it can have is really important.

Our feelings can feel rather chaotic after a death and this can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening. This is normal and the intensity of these feelings tend to ease over time.

You may experience some of these:

  • crying
  • sadness
  • fear & anxiety
  • numbness and/or emptiness
  • loneliness
  • anger
  • helplessness
  • irritability
  • guilt
  • reduced confidence
  • lowered self esteem
  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

And it's not just our emotions that are affected after a bereavement, because just like any kind of trauma, the body can experience a physical reaction which can further add to the distress. People are often less aware of these, but grief can affect your body just as much as it can affect your emotions.

Here are some of the ways grief can affect you physically:

  • disturbances in sleep patterns
  • fatigue
  • restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • nausea
  • pain & tension in the body
  • decreased immune system
  • difficulty stopping activity
  • inactivity

It’s easy to forget to look after yourself when you’re grieving, but here are a few simple things can help to make it a little easier:

  • Try to get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Be kind to yourself and don’t put pressure on yourself to feel better too quickly.
  • Avoid numbing the pain too much with things like alcohol, which won’t help you in the long run.
  • Try to keep to a routine – it might feel easier to stop doing things and seeing people, but in the long run this can make you feel worse.
  • Try returning to activities you enjoyed before you were bereaved such as going for a walk, listening to music or swimming.

Seeing a friend or loved one struggle with their grief can be very difficult and it is sometimes extremely hard to know what to say or do. If you or someone you know lives in Hertfordshire or Essex and is going through a bereavement, our IAPT service can help. IAPT provide a range of support from talking therapies to interactive webinars that you may find useful - for more information about how they can support you, please visit here.

IAPT have monthly webinars to help you with your grief, taking place in January, February & March – to book a place please visit here

You can watch a short video about these webinars and find out a bit more about IAPT by clicking here.

Do you live in mid or North Essex?

Health in Mind is part of Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Mid and North East Essex Mind and Chelmsford Counselling Foundation. They offer support to anyone aged 17 and over who are registered with a GP in Mid Essex including Braintree, Chelmsford, Maldon and surrounding areas. To find out more, please visit here

The bereavement charity ‘Cruse’ are also a great source of support – if you live in Hertfordshire they can be contacted here, or if you live outside of the area, you can find out more about their work here

Grief can be a very painful process and everyone has their own way of managing and coping, but please always remember you don’t have to go on the journey alone if you don’t want to – help and support is available whenever you’re ready to reach out.

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