When we think of grief coping strategies, we tend to return to the old favorites—sharing with your friends and family, giving yourself time, perhaps even seeking out counseling. While all of these are essential to the grieving process, there may be a more direct way of releasing your grief; a creative outlet can many times be just as comforting as the old standards. Here are five positive and effective ways with which to address your grief.
1. Goodbye Letter
You may not have had the opportunity to say goodbye, yet closure is so essential to moving on. If you are having a hard time letting go, if you have thoughts or memories that you wish you could have shared—you can still share them. Write a letter to your lost loved one telling them everything that you wish you could have said in life. In some cases, this could even be the opportunity to put aside past grievances or resolve feelings of guilt. While of course there does not need to be a set structure, consider sharing how you are feeling, what you will most remember, tell them what you were most thankful for during your relationship. Writing can be immensely therapeutic and letting your thoughts and feelings out on paper can be the best balm for your grief.
2. Connect With Friendly Strangers
A bit quirky, yet no less effective—try to find a Dinner Party in your area. These dinner parties are exactly what they sound like, a friendly potluck that connects you with other going through the grieving process. Their focus is on life after loss. Even if you have a supportive network already, this could be a great way to express pent up or confusing feelings; there is no judgment involved, you can choose to never see these people again or they can become close friends that can help guide you through this difficult time. Death Café is another interesting riff on the same idea. Whether you have experienced a loss or just have questions that you’d like to address, these groups meet to remove the taboo that still surrounds conversations about death and dying.
3. Build a Playlist
Think about the songs that your loved one enjoyed or alternately find the melodies that remind you of them—once you have a handful, throw them into a playlist. Keep adding to the playlist as new songs come along and whenever you feel particularly sad or find yourself missing them, tune into this reservoir of solace. Simple as it may seem, music is a powerful tool and can help you through an overwhelming tide of emotions with unexpected ease.
4. Be Alone With Your Thoughts
Most of us run through life; we are so busy with our intricately scheduled lives we hardly ever take the time to stop and think. In times of grief, introspection is particularly important. So make yourself a priority and set aside fifteen minutes to simply sit and think. It can be about your lost loved one, it can be about the day you are having or going to have, or it can simply be a personal check-in—how are you feeling? What can you do to feel better today? Remember, finding pain points and addressing them is a healthy and effective way of resolving grief; and no guilt! There is nothing else that you need to be doing at this time. If you are helping yourself, you will inevitably be better prepared to help and support others who might be suffering with you.
5. Talk With the One You’re Missing
Maybe the simplest outlet of all is simply talking to the one you’ve lost. Many times it is their very presence we miss the most, their voice and their opinions. If you are wishing you could have more time to talk, just go ahead and make your own time. Start talking and you will probably find that you’ll be able to anticipate what they may have said, how they would have said it. Take comfort in knowing that, in that knowledge of them, you carry a piece of them. Whenever you need to talk, they are there, waiting to listen.
There you have it, a list of creative grief coping methods and none of them requiring too much creativity on your part. Find what works for you and give yourself the gift of an outlet, of expression.