How to look after yourself when grieving_Cover Image

The death of someone close to you is one of the most challenging experiences a person can go through, and grief affects people in very different ways. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and gaining a better understanding of how and why you feel a certain way may help you come to terms with your grief.

Dillamore’s Associate Bereavement Counsellor, Carole Warren, shares some important things to remember about grief and how to take care of yourself during this time…

Grief is normal

“Grief is a normal response to a difficult event in our life, such as losing someone we care about,” says Carole. “People are often encouraged to ‘be strong’ and yet crying and expressing our feelings are an important part of the human experience. There is nothing weak about tears – they are a natural part of allowing ourselves to truly acknowledge what has happened.”

Loss is very personal and your grief journey will be unique

“No matter whether your loss was expected or came as a complete shock, nothing takes away your right to feel and acknowledge the pain and grief you are feeling from that person’s absence in your life.”

Grieving is hard work

“Grieving takes an enormous amount of our emotional energy, and getting through each day can feel exhausting. Over time this can lead to feelings of fatigue, stress and anxiety. It can also show up as an apathy towards other people, leaving the house, socialising and attending events, even if they are things you may have previously enjoyed. It’s okay to give yourself the time and space you need to heal.”

Grief is not a linear journey from A to B

“There is a misunderstanding that grief is something you ‘get over’. Your life will never be the same again, however, that doesn’t mean it will never be fulfilling or happy again. When we lose someone we care about it is like the jigsaw puzzle picture of our life has been shattered. Piece by piece we have to create a new picture, and this is a very personal and individual journey.”

Grief can be unpredictable

“You will have good days and bad days, and sometimes there is no apparent reason for the less good days. Suddenly without warning, you will find yourself missing them all over again. It might be a landmark occasion like a birthday or anniversary, sometimes it is something more subtle, such as a song or a scent, and sometimes a memory seems to rise from nowhere and takes you by complete surprise.”

Secondary losses

“Our primary grief is usually for the person we have lost. However, this can trigger many other losses in our lives, which we call secondary losses. A secondary loss could include bigger changes in your life, such as changes in your financial circumstances, your lifestyle, relationships, or where you live. Secondary losses can also include emotional losses, such as a loss in your dreams and hopes for the future, a loss of confidence, or a loss of identity. These secondary losses can often be invisible to the people around you, and yet can have a profound effect on your life.”

How to look after yourself when grieving

“Take your time – grief always seems to take longer than people expect. You don’t have to hurry. Give yourself permission to grieve and take all the time you need. Avoid hasty decisions, put big changes on hold for a while so that you can begin to understand your feelings and what you really need. Try to eat well and do some form of gentle physical exercise to keep yourself as physically well as possible. Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed, this can be from family and friends, or from a professional such as your GP or a bereavement counsellor.”

Carole Warren has been supporting the bereaved for more than 20 years and works with the team at Dillamore to provide advice and guidance to anyone experiencing grief.

If you would like to speak with Carole, reach out to one of our team who will facilitate an introduction for you. Alternatively you can find out more the services Carole provides at There are also many local and national bereavement services that may be able to support you during this time.

To speak to a member of our team, reach out to us on 01525 372210 or email us using our contact form.