• Friday, April 19, 2024

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Navigating grief

Cropped shot of two young women embracing each other at home

By: Mita Mistry

A NEW YEAR often brings fresh hope, but sadness or memories from the past can also linger. As we have eased into 2024 and transitioned into new beginnings, consider sparing a thought for the many who hold the heavier weight of grief. Whether it’s the recent loss of a loved one or the echoes of an older ache, a new year can be a time when emotions intensify. But you are not alone.

If you’re the one grieving during resolutions and celebrations, remember that it’s okay to not feel the ‘happy new year’ just yet. It’s quite normal for raw feelings to creep in with familiar dates and the yearning for the person that you miss. Grief has its own pace, texture and timeline. It can range from a quiet undercurrent to an uncontrollable tidal wave. There is no right or wrong way to feel and move through grief.

So, this new year, embrace self-compassion. Give yourself permission to acknowledge your relationship with grief without judgement. Honour the hurt while cherishing the memories that remain. Here are some ways to navigate grief:

Embrace self-care: Focus on nurturing your body and mind. Gentle sleep, nourishing meals, and movement such as a walk outdoors or stretching can provide support. Forget the resolutions for now, or choose small intentions that nourish your mind and soothe your soul.

Craft your mantra: Instead of feeling pressure to be ‘happy’, replace these tension-loaded words with kindness towards yourself. “May I have a compassionate new year,” or “This is hard, and I’m doing my best,” can become reminders to prioritise your well-being.

Hold loved ones close: Remember, transitioning into a new year doesn’t leave those you lose behind. Their imprint lives on in your shared habits, quirks and memories. Perhaps take time to reflect on these connections, keeping their essence alive within you.

Plan your grief journey: Use your calendar, not just for schedules, but for self-care and grief support. Mark anniversaries and plan special ways to remember loved ones with supportive friends or groups. Decorate your calendar with photos, quotes, or symbols that bring you comfort and inspiration.

Tame the monkey mind: Our thoughts often jump around, especially in grief. Meditation, even as simple as focusing on your breath, can help anchor you in the present. Find practices that calm your mind and bring you a sense of control. Try the Calm App or the Insight Timer, which are excellent for bringing ease and clarity.

Seek your tribe: Find a grief group or community where you can connect with others who understand. Sharing your story and hearing theirs can be immensely healing. Listen to podcasts to hear stories of those who have been navigating grief to help you feel less alone. Healing Place covers this and many of the ideas mentioned above.

Remember, even amid joy and new beginnings, your grief is valid. Embrace it with compassion and know that you are not alone. This year, I hope you find moments of peace, release some suffering and move forward with the love that remains in your heart. Take care and know that there is light even in the darkest of times.

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