Grief is a powerful and often paralyzing emotion. Losing someone close to you leaves a hole in your life, and grieving is a natural emotional response to that trauma. “There is no right or wrong way to grieve,” says psychologist Judith Marayelle. “But there are healthy ways you can deal with the grieving process to make it less damaging and more healing.”
Judith Marayelle, MSEd and LP, goes on to explain that research shows most people are able to recover from loss on their own – so long as they have healthy habits and a network of social support.
What Is Grief? Psychologist Judith Marayelle Explains
“Grief is a very natural response to loss,” explains Judith Marayelle. “It’s the emotional suffering you feel when a person you love is taken from you. Often this loss can be completely overwhelming. Shock, guilt, anger, disbelief, sadness – all of these emotions fall under the umbrella of grief, and working through them is part of the grieving process.”
“The real problem with grief is not that you feel it – it is a natural part of life to grieve our losses. Instead, the problem with grief is the disruption it can cause to our physical health. Sleeping, eating, exercising – all of these normal habits and routines fly out the window,” says Judith Marayelle. She explains that this disruption is to be expected, and is considered normal for a period of time. But if it is not addressed, if it lapses into long-term depression and lack of self-care, it can have a long-term effect on your physical and mental health.
Judith Marayelle Shares How to Deal With the Grieving Process
“Only time can help you heal your grief. There are no quick fixes. But there are some steps you can take to help make yourself more comfortable,” says Judith Marayelle.
1. Talk About the Death of Your Loved One
“A support system is so important,” says Marayelle. “It reminds us that we are not alone. Talking about our departed loved one helps us hold onto beloved memories and, over time, those good memories replace some of the memories of pain, grief, and loss. Avoidance only leads to isolation.”
2. Accept Your Feelings
“This is difficult for a lot of people,” says Judith Marayelle. “Our culture teaches us to suppress negative emotions from a very young age. But you’re going to experience anger, sadness, fear, and exhaustion. Name your emotions. Recognize when you are feeling them and let it happen. But if you start to feel overwhelmed, talk to a licensed psychologist – you need to process your feelings to heal, but you never need to do it alone.”
3. Practice Self-Care
“A lot of people find this to be obvious,” says Judith Marayelle. “But it is so easy to put self-care aside when you are grieving. Guilt and depression tell us we’re terrible people for relaxing or reading a book or laughing when our loved one can’t anymore. Try to remember that your loved one wants you to be happy and healthy. They wouldn’t want you to neglect yourself. It’s normal to be depressed and let some things fall to the wayside while you recover. But try to do one small thing for yourself every day. Even if it’s just taking a shower or cooking breakfast.”
This is far from a comprehensive list of all the ways you can help yourself cope with grief healthily. If you are feeling overwhelmed and hopeless in the face of the loss of your loved one, talk to your friends, your family, or a mental health professional.
Judith Marayelle has been a psychologist for over 30 years. Her goal is to help her patients understand and resolve the issues in their lives and achieve a sense of personal empowerment and well-being. She focuses on providing a therapeutic environment of caring and non-judgment that will help her patients achieve a greater level of comfort and release their emotional pain.