Life doesn’t always stay the same. Our plans, our vision, our dreams can all be altered quickly in an instant. Many associate grieving with a death, but it’s also common to experience grieving because of changes in your life.
Some feel grief as their kids grow up and quickly become an empty nester. It could also hit while experiencing a divorce of your own or someone you care for. Others experience “ambiguous grief” as a loved one endures an illness such as an addiction or dementia.
Grief can also strike from something you’ve always known to be steady and constant changing without your say so or control. Changes in life can bring you face-to-face with the many shades of grieving.
Regardless of what causes your grief, it’s important to recognize it and work through it. Here’s some things to remember if you’re experiencing grieving because of changes in your life.
Lean on others
Carrying the weight of grief alone will only make it heavier. It’s important to not isolate and fall into a dark hole when you’re grieving because of changes out of your control. Find a safe and trusted friend to be open with and get hugs and support to help you walk through this hard season. If you don’t have a close safe person, there’s always prayer and digging into God’s Word to help you not feel so alone.
Don’t deny your feelings
Loss brings many waves of emotions. It’s healthy to feel them and not talk yourself out of them. Avoiding feeling in the moment will only make your emotion build and grow into a bigger struggle down the road.
Balance “all or nothing” and “catastrophic” thinking
When things change in your life, it’s common for fear to blow it up into a worst case scenario. Having all or nothing thinking and imagining a catastrophe will keep you focused more on the “What IF” and not the “What IS”. It’s important to focus on the things you know that are true and not get lost in these fear based ways of thinking.
Look for the good that the change can bring
Change isn’t always a bad thing in the long run. Sometimes we have no idea what God is doing and the big picture path He’s guiding us on. He could be protecting you from something. He could be opening a door you never would have walked through on your own. You might not be able to see good from the change at first, but pay attention as you may be able to figure it out down the road.
Take care of yourself
Grieving from changes can be draining and overwhelming. You may feel anxiety and stress from feeling out of control, so it’s important for you to practice good self-care. Take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying active. It’s also good self-care to say no to things in order to stay balanced. Spiritual self-care is always a must when going through a hard time. The support and comfort that you get from time in the Word, prayer, reading, and being loved on from your faith family is invaluable.
When life changes and doesn’t fit your plans, it’s easy to give up on your dreams. It may feel pointless to keep dreaming when so much is out of your control. But dreaming can often help you feel motivated to keep going and have something to look forward to even while grieving.
Grief can be an intense issue to battle, so make sure you seek professional help to walk alongside you if needed. Sometimes grief will change and lessen over time, but in many cases we just learn how to carry it with us. Be aware that things will trigger it and stir up feelings again when you might not expect it. This is a normal part of the grieving roller coaster.
Life changes are inevitable, but remember it’s okay to process the range of emotions along the way.
What life changes have caused you unexpected grief?