Dealing with grief in Canada

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on November 1, 2021

Losing a loved one through death, divorce, estrangement, or separation can be devastating. Grief—the sorrow and suffering felt when you lose something or someone you love—can take a toll on your physical and mental health, making it hard for you to eat or sleep. The greater the loss, the more intense the feeling of grief can be.

People experience grief differently, and the mourning process can be stressful and painful. According to psychiatrist, Elisabeth Küber-Ross, there are five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. While it is good to know the stages, not everyone goes through all of them, and it is not a requirement to experience all stages to grieve and heal. Below are some actions you can take to cope with your grief and help your healing.

1. Acknowledge that you are experiencing pain

Many people tend to hide their pain to avoid being pitied or viewed as weak. It may seem shameful or embarrassing to admit that you are hurting, but recognizing your pain and vulnerability can be a great source of strength and healing.

2. Identify your struggles


When grieving, there might be certain things that some people struggle with more than others. Maybe they don’t have the motivation to cook for themselves during the day or they aren’t able to watch romantic movies anymore. If you or someone you know is struggling, a helpful exercise would be making a list of triggers to better understand what to avoid or what to get additional support for.

3. Seek support from a professional if you need it

Not everyone has a friend to turn to, especially when they are newcomers. If you feel like you need additional support, let your doctor know. They can help you get a referral for professional support. There’s no shame in asking for professional help during your grieving process.

4. Continue to do the activities that you enjoy

Oftentimes, those grieving neglect the things they enjoy when overwhelmed by emotions and everyday responsibilities. Some people even believe that they have to punish themselves, because their loved one is no longer around to enjoy life with them. Contrary to this belief, indulging in activities that bring you joy like eating out, going to the movies, and exercising do not undermine the mourning process. In fact, they may help relieve your pain.

5. Track your thoughts, feelings, and mood

Writing about and reflecting on daily thoughts and emotions can be highly therapeutic. Some people even use mood trackers to help them physically see and understand how their emotions can change from day to day. Journaling and tracking your mood can help you recognize patterns in your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to work on them by yourself or with a trained professional.

6. Reach out—and be receptive to—the people that care about you


Many people don’t realize how loved they are. In cases where one is experiencing a separation, estrangement, or divorce, they may feel undeserving of love or like they don’t have anyone to turn to. Let the people who are in your life and who care about you know how you feel. Just the act of unburdening yourself, can be relieving. Be selective in who you decide to share your feelings with, because not everyone can handle heavy emotions. It’s okay to ask your friends if you can open up to them.

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