You don’t need to feel guilty for having a good day, cracking jokes, or ending up in hysterical laughter while you’re grieving. Grief itself has hugely fluctuating emotions, and sometimes you’re going to feel okay. It’s okay to have good days when you are grieving. That doesn’t mean you love or miss your person any less and it doesn’t mean you’re not grieving anymore!
It’s okay if your emotions are all over the place
Laughter might turn into uncontrollable sobbing… and that’s okay too. Sometimes we’re able to manage our feelings quite well, and other times we can’t. There’s no reason for you to need to explain yourself if you’re feeling happy. It’s also possible to feel more than one emotion at once! You might experience feeling angry, happy, hopeful, and frustrated all at the same time.
It’s okay to think about other things
Grief probably won’t be your main focus all day every day – that’s okay. You might have to go to work, look after family or friends, or study. These things might be a welcome distraction for you if you’re finding your grief overwhelming.,
However, it’s hard to hide away from your emotions, and you may need to find time to grieve. If you’re able to, try talking to a friend, family member, colleague, teacher, club leader, or anyone else you trust. You can share stories about your person with them, and yes (!!!) it’s okay to recall funny or happy memories and still grieve their death.
It’s okay to do things you enjoy
Spending time doing something you enjoy can be really helpful when you’re grieving. That could be anything from reading your favourite book to going out to a party with friends. There are no rules or guidelines to say what and when you should be doing the things you love while you’re grieving.
If your person has died very recently, you might feel that you need some time before you get back into your normal activities, or maybe you need a break from the heavy emotions and decide to resume them sooner. You are the expert in how you are feeling, and only you will know what you feel like doing each day.
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It’s okay to feel relieved
You might feel a sense of relief after your person has died, perhaps they were suffering from an illness, or your relationship wasn’t very good. Feeling relieved doesn’t mean you didn’t ever love or care for that person. Even if you didn’t have a great relationship with them before they died, you are still allowed to miss them. There are no right and wrong ways you should feel… those ‘five stages of grief’ you hear about – they aren’t exactly accurate for everyone, and any emotions can occur at any time.
It’s okay to find it difficult to sleep
For some people, their grief may feel worse when they first wake up, and maybe getting on with jobs and having things to do throughout the day helps to ease those big emotions.
For others, going to sleep at night can be really difficult. Late at night when you’re in your bedroom, you might not have much else to think about… except how you’re feeling. Scrolling on your phone or tablet won’t distract you for very long, and you might struggle with getting enough rest.
If you’re struggling to sleep at night, talking with someone about your sleeping problems can be helpful. Writing down thoughts and feelings before bed can help to get those thoughts out of your mind, and writing them down means you can stop thinking about them before sleep.
It’s okay to have bad days
When we having bad days, it can be hard to find a way to motivate ourselves to do even small tasks. Sometimes, planning small achievable goals can be helpful. Before bed, or maybe at the start of the day, you could think about one small goal you could aim for. The achievement could be anything – for example: getting up, showering, and eating a good healthy breakfast would be a brilliant goal to have. If you’re finding that you’re able to do that, try and set a bigger goal for yourself like exercising, creating, or learning something new!
It’s okay to have good days
Good days are completely acceptable, even for grieving people. If someone is telling you otherwise, then perhaps they don’t understand the experience you’re having. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to have the same life experiences, and if you need to reach out for help, there is nothing to feel ashamed of.
Winston’s Wish are here to help! We offer one-to-one and group support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline and email service where you can talk to bereavement professionals. You can call us on 08088 020 021 (open 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org and find out more on our Get Support page.
If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.