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Understanding the Long Recovery Process from Grief

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Grief can be a long healing journey. If you are grieving, it is important to allow the process to take its course.

Grief cannot be prevented or resolved quickly. However, there are processes and activities you can use to help you feel a certain sense of relief as you heal.

Try the following strategies to help you understand your grieving and recovery:

1. Understand grief. Grief refers to the way you handle a loss. Loss may include a loved one or a pet. Grief can also occur due to loss of health, employment, and other life events.

Grief is not an all-encompassing definition. It can vary greatly from one person to the next, and even change during a person's lifetime. How you deal with loss may differ at various stages in your life.

Grief can include anger, resentment, sadness, guilt, etc.

2. Changing thoughts. A common theme of grief is changing your thoughts. This can happen quickly and take you from feeling good to feeling absolutely devastated, all in a few minutes.

Your thoughts about your loss will also vary through shock, sadness, guilt, anger, and acceptance as you go through the grieving process.

3. Concerns of loved ones. The grieving process can be different in each individual, so how you deal with it may not be the same as your friends or family. People close to you may be concerned about your grief process. They may feel your process is too short or too long. They may feel as though you are hiding your emotions or sharing them too much.

Your friends and family should understand that the grief process has no set expiry date. You’re not required to stop grieving at a particular point in time. Your process may take longer or shorter than what others perceive as normal.

Let them know of anything they can do to help you, such as preparing meals, helping with the house or errands, taking the kids off your hands for a while, or anything else you feel would bring you some relief.

4. Using distractions. Distractions are a common way of coping with grief. Distractions may help you temporarily forget about pain. They can also make you avoid dealing with the emotional impact of your loss. It is important that you use distractions in moderation and be patient with your emotions.

Focusing on work or hobbies, watching a funny movie, or reading a great novel can help keep your mind occupied temporarily.

5. Preoccupied by the loss. You may be concerned about the nature of your loss and focus only on grief.

Part of the recovery process is understanding that long-term preoccupation with the loss isn’t healthy. This differs from short-term preoccupation, which will happen for a while. As time goes on, if you continue to feel this preoccupation, seeking outside help from a counsellor may help.

6. Support groups and therapy. Grief counsellors can help guide you through your grief and find ways to help you deal with your loss.

You can also take part in support groups or therapy sessions.

In addition, there are forums and Facebook groups full of others who are also grieving. The people there can help you sort through your thoughts and share ideas that have helped them.

7. Acceptance of the recovery process. It’s not possible to just skip over the pain of loss. If you accept that the recovery process will take time and effort, then it will be easier to handle it. Accept your feelings and focus on rebuilding your life after the loss.

The grief process can take a significant amount of time. You don’t have to pretend that it’s easy to fix. The stages of the grieving process can be overwhelming at times, but your journey to recovery can be eased by seeking help from others and finding ways that allow you to move forward past the devastating effects.

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