Whether it’s on a personal scale or a collective level, loss can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, rage, fear, guilt, numbness, regret and despair. Even when we don’t know someone personally, we can still have feelings of grief for their loss. Their death may bring up feelings of uncertainty and change and it can also remind us of our own mortality or trigger previous experiences of trauma and loss. You may be experiencing difficult feelings that you might not fully understand. What is grief, exactly?

  • Grief is a response that follows a significant change or loss which may affect parts, or all, of someone’s life or even generations, such as with intergenerational trauma and grief
  • Grief is a process of coming to terms with what has changed in life
  • Grief has no set pattern, it is expressed differently across different people and cultures
  • Grieving is a process, and it is different for everyone
  • There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and no timeline on how long you will be grieving for
  • It is important that you find what you need and give yourself time to heal
  • Grief can filter across communities via shared connections

How to look after yourself when grieving

Look after your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. It is easy to revert to unhelpful habits and it may feel like an effort to take care of yourself, but this is a time when looking after yourself is even more important.

  • Looking after your physical health will impact your emotional health and vice versa. Keep up your activity, go for a walk or meet up with friends to exercise. Eat nourishing food and drink water and herbal teas. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and make time in your day for rest.
  • You may want to spend time alone which can allow you to connect to your emotions, and that is healthy, but keep check on whether you are withdrawing and avoiding seeing people. Connection is important, so reach out to your support networks and let them know how you are feeling.
  • Beneficial connections may exist beyond human connections. they could be connections with pets, with country or place, or with a faith or belief system.
  • You can grieve but still engage in pleasant or meaningful experiences, like being in nature, playing games, reading, spending time with friends, family and community.
  • Express your feelings, this may be by journaling, sharing stories with family, friends or your mob, painting or dancing.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that all feelings are normal and valid, and you can acknowledge feelings as they are.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.