I received some news in the middle of this week that absolutely shook me. I sat at my desk in shock, and it took a few minutes for me to process what I had just heard. A few moments after hearing the news, I cried. I cried again as I was driving home from a meeting yesterday and again at my desk this morning. I am thankful for the support I received in those moments, and I’m sure I will need more support as I continue to process the news. Grief is an individual process, and everyone grieves differently. There is no right way to grieve. And guess what? Your therapist grieves, too.
I am a helping professional, but I am also a human being. I go through “life stuff” just like my clients do. If a family member dies, I grieve. If a client or former client dies, I grieve. When I leave a job where I met wonderful people and was exposed to exciting opportunities, even if I am leaving the job for a better opportunity, I grieve. Grief is normal. And the reality is that we will all experience a loss of some sort at some point in time.
If you are grieving right now, here are some important things to keep in mind: 1) Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to grieve, and don’t rush the process. Just like it takes time for a physical wound to heal, emotional wounds take time to heal, too. 2) Allow yourself to fully experience the range of emotions that may come up for you, whether sadness, anger, frustration, shock, uncertainty, fear, or any other emotion. It is normal to experience a range of emotions while grieving. Experiencing emotions is a part of the human experience. It is not always comfortable or convenient to experience emotions, but it is necessary in order for healing to take place. 3) Take care of yourself as you create your “new normal”. A part of taking care of yourself might be to find a way to commemorate the person or thing that you lost. Perhaps you lost a friend, and one thing that you and your friend used to do is have a yoga session in the park together every Saturday. Keeping your friend’s memory alive while taking care of yourself might mean continuing to go to the park and do yoga every Saturday. And if you start crying during your yoga routine, that’s OK, too. Let the tears and your body flow.
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This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the ways in which you can take care of and be kind to yourself as you grieve, but it’s a start. And remember, if you are having a hard time managing your emotions and the grief that you are experiencing, do not be afraid to ask for help. Hopefully, you have loved ones who are supportive during your grief process, but that is not always the case. Therapy is always an option, and you are not “crazy” or “weak” for seeking counseling. Your therapist is a human being who knows what it’s like to lose someone or something. After all, your therapist grieves, too.