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June 2024

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Mental Health Matters: How To Grieve

Grief is not about just being sad. It can be physically painful. It can steal our joy, our energy, and our purpose. Grief is one of life’s most powerful emotions because it requires another one, more powerful than self to form. We cannot grieve without first feeling love.


Fortunately, a grieving person can take actions to address this life-changing emotion. The first is to acknowledge what it is and be determined to ride it out. If we don’t and we simply ignore it, we’re allowing grief to win over the love that formed it in the first place. We cannot give that power to grief. We must be determined to make sure the love wins.


Another action is to be kind to ourselves throughout the process. Allowing comfort from family, friends, and ourselves is of the utmost importance. Rest when you’re tired. Take a warm bath. Drink a cup of tea with milk. Look at photographs you enjoy. Play some music. Go to a beautiful place. Feed your body and feed your soul. During this vulnerable time, be sure to be cautious of your food and alcohol consumption. While they can temporarily feel like they’re numbing the pain, they ultimately will never allow you to fully cope hence they will never allow love to win.


Understand that through this time, you may feel many other feelings along with your grief. Anger and depression are often grief partners. Recognize this is part of the process and don’t allow the emotions take center stage: always stay connected to the love.


Allow yourself to ask for help from a professional. Talking with friends has its place, but it doesn’t replace the help a trained professional can provide. You wouldn’t take your broken care to a friend to repair, you’d take it to an expert. The same principle goes with helping repair your grief. Knowing when you need help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Seeing a counselor alone or in a group honors the loss and love that is being grieved.


These actions won’t magically eliminate the painful journey through grief, however, they will allow us to say, “what I lost was important, I deserve the best I can do to keep the love and joy I felt alive.”
For more help with grief, New Mexico has a hotline which is always open. It is staffed by loving and caring professionals. (855) 662-7474 or by dialing 988 from your cellular device.


Most importantly, let the love win.

Author

  • Dawn Provencher

    Mental Health Matters: The northern Taos County communities have lost several young people in recent months. Questa del Rio News is starting a column dedicated to mental health matters. Dawn Provencher is a retired counselor. She has a master’s degree in counseling and a master’s degree in social work. She will be contributing to this column on a monthly basis.

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