How do you just pick up and move on when you can’t seem to find the energy to put one foot in front of the other. Here are 5 Steps to Overcoming Grief

How do you do this? How do you just pick up and move on when you can’t seem to find the energy to put one foot in front of the other, let alone try to live a happy, “normal” life?

5 Steps to Overcoming Grief

Find What Works for You

First, you have to understand that everyone is different. Just because I may handle grief in one way doesn’t mean that you would find the same relief by doing the same things. This is a very important point to remember as you learn about grief.

Just because you try something to soothe your heartache and it doesn’t work doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a life of pain and suffering. It just means that you have to find a different avenue or walk a different path. So, don’t give up because relief is out there; you just need to find it.

Stages of Grief

The second thing you need to know is that when it comes to loss, there are several seemingly chaotic and difficult stages that you will most likely go through. You may experience any or all of these feelings and emotions and some of them will hit you really hard whereas others may be just slightly apparent for a short moment in time. Again, it’s all individual.

These four stages are:

  • Denial – This is when you can’t believe whatever has happened. You feel like it’s just a bad dream and you want to wake up so you can get your life back to “normal.” You may feel numb and not want to believe the reality that lies before you.
  • Pain – This is when you feel as if you are suffering more intensely than you ever believed possible. You feel out of control and have a hard time getting things to slow down to a manageable pace. It’s common to experience fear and guilt during this stage. Perhaps you’re afraid that the same thing will happen to you or you regret something you may or may not have done in relation to the subject of your loss.
  • Anger – At some point in the grief process, you may find that you feel extremely angry about the loss. You might want to blame someone else and make others feel the same heart breaking hurt you’re feeling. You may lash out at those you love or try to barter with a higher power, such as by saying “If you (bring someone back or repair a relationship, for instance), then I will never/always (insert action here).”
  • Depression – With grief often comes depression, or hopelessness and despair. You wonder how you can go on now that your life has been changed forever. And, even if you know you can go on, you don’t feel like you want to. You likely no longer find comfort or solace in things that used to feel good and you may start to retract from the rest of the world.

All of these emotions and feelings are natural after a loss. But the final stage, the one that I have faith that you will reach, perhaps with the help of this article, is acceptance. That’s when you take the situation for what it is and learn to move on in a positive, optimistic manner. How do you reach this stage that promises peace and solace, and maybe even a little hint of happiness?

Take These 5 Steps

You can effectively deal with the grief you are experiencing by following certain steps. Remember, that in the end you need to find what works for your personality and your life, but these five actions will get you started in the right direction. They are:

Step #1: Go easy on yourself

Whatever loss you’ve endured, allow yourself to truly feel it. Give yourself permission to process what has happened and what the impact is going to be on your world. One of the worst things you can do is not give yourself enough time to go through the stages of grief; stages that are natural and normal.

Now is not the time to be hard on yourself and expect yourself to just ignore the situation. This is when you need nurturance, caring and understanding. And, the person you need it from the most is yourself.

Give yourself a specific length of time to deal with the anger, frustration, sadness and fear. The problem isn’t when you go through these emotions, it’s when you get stuck in them and never find your way out. By allowing yourself time to grieve, you’re more likely to continue walking toward acceptance and living a life filled with hope and passion.

Step #2: Let your grief out

It seems like we’re all held to the standard of being strong when faced with some life-altering event. We’re told to keep it together for the benefit of ourselves, our family and friends and any loved one we come in contact with. However, if you keep grief locked inside, like rust, it will eat you from the inside out.

That means that you need to find a way to deal with your grief and let it out. Talk to someone you trust; someone that listens more than speaks. Maybe you could share how you feel with a close friend, or perhaps you have a counselor or pastor that you feel comfortable with. Find someone who you can be honest with free of judgment and share your thoughts and concerns with them.

If you don’t have someone like that in your life, there is always the option of finding a professional counselor or therapist. They can use their training and experience to help you move forward in a manner that will work for you, not against you.

Step #3: Break life into manageable pieces

When a void has been created in your life, your days can feel quite chaotic. You may feel unable to handle the challenges and hurdles are thrust in your path because the pace is too quick; you are overwhelmed with continuing basic life functions so everything else is tortuous to even consider.

Whenever you feel like life is too much to take, it’s important to break it down into increments you can manage. If the thought of getting through the day seems like too big a task, just focus on managing the hour that lies ahead. And, if that is too much, concentrate only on making it through the next minute.

The key is to break it into chunks that you can deal with without feeling overwhelmed and out of control. Pay attention to what is in front of you right this moment and the rest will work out on its own.

Step #4: Do something that brings you enjoyment

This can be extremely difficult if you’re immersed in grief because it can be hard to find anything that makes you happy at that point. Just getting out of bed in the morning may feel like a challenge.

However, the more fixated you become on the grief, the less likely you are to move on, so you need to engage yourself in activities or events that bring you some level of happiness. Maybe you won’t experience great levels of joy or elation right away by doing them, but even little bits of pleasure are a step in the right direction.

Think of things that have brought you enjoyment in the past and try some of them. Or, look for something new and different that you’ve always wanted to do but hadn’t yet tried. Enlist the help of family and friends to go with you so that you’re more inclined to follow through and seek out the new experiences that may offer some relief from how you’re feeling.

Step #5: Connect with others facing similar circumstances

Although you may feel extremely alone in your grief, when the rest of the world has returned to their “normal” day to day activities and you’re still left with a hole inside of you, you have to remember that you aren’t alone at all. Unfortunately, there are several other people in this world who have experienced the pain that you feel. They’ve suffered a loss very similar to yours and are going through the exact same thoughts, emotions and processes.

There are online support groups and ones that are held in person to help unite people and give them someone to talk to that feels their pain. Just a quick internet search to find one you are comfortable with can open the door to a world where you’re surrounded by people who know exactly how you feel and may be able to share some advice or insight to help you through the pain.

Keep in mind that pain is something we all face, but suffering is optional. It is okay to grieve for your losses, but don’t let them rob you of a life that still has plenty to offer you.

Honor your loss with a commitment to make tomorrow better than today. Follow these five steps and you’ll be able to do just that. Good luck to you on your journey. I have faith that you can do it. (