September 2022: Dealing with Grief - Bereavement Coping Techniques

With the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the idea of losing someone we hold dear is not far from our minds. And dealing with grief is one of life's most heartbreaking challenges. The stages of grief can be hard to navigate for even the strongest of minds, and it is important to have bereavement coping techniques that work for you and that can help you through this difficult time. In this blog post, we will discuss the five stages of grief, as well as some useful bereavement coping techniques. We hope that this information will be helpful for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Five Stages of Grief

The stages of grief were first established by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying, and they have been widely accepted as a way to understand the grieving process. The stages are not linear, and depending on how you cope will determine whether you move back and forth between them. Grief is a highly individual experience, so it is important to do what feels right for you.

1. Denial

The first stage of grief is the most mentally draining and features denial and isolation. This is where you try to distance yourself from the pain of loss, and you may refuse to believe that the person is gone. During this stage, you may withdraw from social activities and isolate yourself from others to avoid having to accept that someone you love has passed on. This is a natural defence mechanism that helps to protect you from the pain of grief.

2. Anger

The second stage of grief involves anger and resentment. You may be angry at the person who has died, as well as at yourself and at the world in general. It is important to express these feelings in a healthy way, such as through writing or talking to a friend. Suppressing your anger will only lead to further pain down the road.

3. Bargaining

The third stage of grief is where you may start to bargain with yourself or with a higher power. This is often in an attempt to avoid the reality of the situation. For example, you may start to make deals in your head, such as, "if I can just get through this, then I will be okay."

4. Depression

The fourth stage of grief is depression, which can be characterized by a sense of hopelessness and despair. This is when the reality of the situation really starts to sink in, and you may start to feel overwhelmed by the loss. It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling with depression, as it can be a very difficult thing to overcome on your own.

5. Acceptance

The fifth and final stage of grief is acceptance. This does not mean that you are happy with the situation, but rather that you have come to terms with it and are able to move on with your life. This stage can be very difficult to reach, but it is important to remember that everyone grieves in their own way, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Bereavement Coping Techniques

Dealing with grief is not easy, but there are some things that you can do to help yourself through the process. Here are a few bereavement coping techniques that may be helpful for you:

1. Reach out to others

One of the best things that you can do when grieving is to reach out to others who have been through similar experiences. Talking to someone who understands what you are going through can be a huge help. There are many support groups available, both in person and online, which can be a great resource.

2. Stay active

It is important to keep your body moving when you are grieving, as it can help to release some of the pent-up emotions that you may be feeling. Consider going for a walk in the park with a hot chocolate or spending time outside and amongst nature. Giving yourself a break with fresh air and opportunities to see other people enjoying life can help lift your spirits.

3: Consider a pet

For those who have lost a partner or elderly parent, companionship can really help you to overcome the sudden loss of a relative and loved one. A lot of people take great comfort in adopting a pet that they can love and look after, shifting their focus from loss to love. This is particularly helpful when the person who has passed has left the home empty and living alone becomes too much. A small dog can bring life back into a home and provide unconditional love and affection.

4: Turn grief into hope

Another effective bereavement coping technique is to turn this traumatic time in your life into something positive and meaningful.  This might involve setting up a charity in memory of the person who has passed or volunteering your time to help others who are going through a tough time. Doing something good in memory of your loved one can help you to feel closer to them and give you a sense of purpose.