Grief is a universal human experience Grief is our way of reacting when we lose someone important to us. It is a whole person experience, not limited to our emotions. Grief is unique to you, even family members may grief differently.
Here are some common grief reactions that you and your other family members may experience:
Agitation, tenseness, restlessness, fatigue, over-activity, searching, crying, sigh, social withdrawal, loss of interest, low energy, dreams of the deceased, attach to/avoid items of the deceased, etc.
Loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, energy loss, exhaustion, complaints of ‘hollow’ stomach, tightened chest, constricted throat, breathlessness; hyper-sensitivity to sight/smell/sound, physical complaints similar to deceased, lower immunity, etc.
Preoccupation with thoughts of deceased, sensing the presence of the deceased, disbelief, unreal, helpless, hopeless, difficulties with memory and concentration, absent-minded, disorganised thoughts, etc.
Depressive, despair, distress, anxious, fearful, guilt, self-blame, angry, irritable, lonely, sad, longing, shock, numb, liberated, relief, etc.
Coping with Grief
- Get enough rest and sleep: If you cannot sleep well at night, take naps, have some quiet time and read a book or listen to music.
- Carry on with your usual activities as much as possible. They will help you to adapt better and will take your mind off your loss for a while.
- Surround yourself with loved ones: Share memories about the deceased and do not be afraid to laugh at funny moments that you have shared.
- Avoid quick fixes: Many people turn to alcohol, overeating and other addictions during grief. Although they may seem to help for a short while, they will actually make life more difficult in the long term.
- Try to be open and accept help: It will help you to avoid becoming too tired.
- Take comfort in a support group or in your faith: Attending support group sessions can help you communicate with others in the same situation. Prayer and meditation can help you feel better.
- Get creative. Write a poem or create a painting to express your feelings and you will be able to cope with your loss in a healthier way.
- Rediscover or participate in activities on your own or with a group. Click here for some suggested activities from HealthHub.
- Find time to review your finances. Some caregivers left work to provide care, you may feel uncertain about re-entering the workforce, here are some initiatives available to assist you in this transition.- Adapt and Grow by Workforce Singapore helps Singaporeans in job seeking and explore new career opportunities.
Know When to Get Professional Help
There is no specific timeline to grief. You cope better over time. Coping better does not mean you are forgetting your loved one.
When your grief reactions continue to be very intense and frequent, to the extent that your health, personal care, daily function, work or school performance and relationships etc. are affected, consider seeking professional help.
If you experience any signs of depression, see your doctor or visit a counsellor. You may also use the self-assessment tool on Mindline.sg to check your emotional well-being.
Where to seek Help?
- Caring for yourself and Others by Singapore Hospice Council on coping with bereavement
- Community bereavement service providers
- Coping with bereavement by Institute of Mental Health
Here are more resources related to end-of-life.
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