Moving Through Grief

Woman standing in front of a window looking sad.

Feeling better won’t happen overnight. At first, it may be all you can do just to get through the day. But there is hope. Know that you will feel better with time, as long as you let yourself grieve. You need to grieve in order to heal. It hurts, but it is a normal part of healing process.

The first response

Your first response is often the most intense. You may cry a lot. Or you may feel a deep numbness or shock. Everyone grieves in his or her own way, but there are common signs of grief:

  • Having intense mood swings

  • Anxiety and loneliness because you are not with your loved one, and you want to bring the person back.

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Eating too much or too little

  • Having trouble thinking clearly

  • Wanting to be alone all the time

For most people, these symptoms lessen within 6 to 12 months. Talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms last longer than 12 months. 

Give yourself a break

Try not to expect too much of yourself right away. It may be hard to work, take care of family responsibilities, or focus on projects for a while. Give yourself more time than usual to get things done, since you may be distracted. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Take time for yourself. Do some things that you enjoy. Go for a ride in the country. Read. It may feel like nothing brings you joy. But know that time really does help.

Know your grief process

Let yourself feel all of your feelings and go through your grief fully. The process is full of ups and downs. One day you may feel a lot better. The next day, you may cry again. Try not to think: “I should be over this by now.” There are no “shoulds” to grief. Let yourself mourn your loss as long as you need to. Remember the good times you had with your loved one. It might help to think of ways you dealt with a loss in the past. That way grief won’t seem so scary and overwhelming. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your grief process.