“Grief takes time. Easier said than allowed,” says Samaritan therapist Hannah Keesler.
“Grief is painful, exhausting, isolating, and enraging. Often, we want to feel better and get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. However, grief can become complicated when we deny it, ignore it, or try to convince ourselves we are fine,” Hannah says.
“Allowing time for grief is one of the best ways to cultivate healing. One simple strategy I suggest my clients implement daily is “grief time.” The idea is to set aside time daily to grieve,” she shares.
“We do this with several activities in our day already including hygiene, eating, sleeping, and checking the mail. When we set aside time for something and prioritize it, it is less intrusive during other parts of our day,” Hannah suggests.
When you don’t have your lunch planned and you start to feel hungry at 11 AM, with no food in sight, you will begin to feel anxious and your mind will fixate on eating, Hannah explains.
Whereas if you have a plan for lunch, she says you can easily toss the thought and hungry feeling aside and return to your task at hand.
Hannah’s Steps To Implementing Daily Grief Time:
- Pick a time of day that you can consistently be present for grief.
- Choose the length of time (1 hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes).
- During grief time choose something that will allow yourself to process the grief. (Ideas: writing, looking at pictures, walking, contemplating favorite memories, praying, talking with someone, or writing a letter to the deceased loved one.)
- While processing the grief, give permission to all and any emotions that occur.
- Once grief time is over, bring your activity to a close and remind yourself that you will return to this tomorrow.
- As thoughts/memories/feelings of grief surface throughout your day, remind yourself that you will think/feel/process it at the next grief time.
Hannah Keesler has been with Samaritan since 2013. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) Counselor. Hannah currently sees clients ages 7 and up at our Menasha and UW-Fox Valley locations. Learn more about Hannah.