Ways to Manage Grief


Ways to Manage Grief

by Jennifer Brown
Stripes Okinawa

Editor’s note: At Stripes Okinawa, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at okinawa@stripes.com.

Grief impacts us all at some point in our lives and it can hit us like a tidal wave if we let it crash over us.  Grief is one of those emotional states where you can be taken into the abyss without even realizing it. Grief can also be overwhelming at times. However, there is hope. Here are a few ways that may help you cope if you are grieving: keep physically active, stay in contact with loved ones, and be gentle with yourself.

Staying physically active can have benefits on both minds and bodies. Whether it is a light stroll around the block, going out to get a coffee, or going for an easy jog, the simple act of getting up and moving can have a positive effect. You can even seek out groups you can join to walk together or virtually. Being physically active also allows our body to create endorphins, which can help us feel good, relieve stress and provides a good outlet when we feel overwhelmed. What I enjoy most about this is that I can enjoy nature when I am outside, which makes me forget about my problems for a little while.

Connecting with your loved ones is another way to cope with grief. Whatever method you choose, text message, video calls or a regular phone call, talking it out and checking in with others gives us social support and a bit of relief. When we are experiencing grief, it can feel like we are alone in our suffering and we cannot see past our pain. This is another simple action where its benefits are monumental and help create opportunity for human connection even when we’re apart.

One last way to cope with grief is by being gentle with yourself. What I mean by this is to not be so hard on yourself during this grieving period. This can take many forms, but my favorite is through self-reflection. I can reflect on where I am in life right now and just let it be. The point of this is not to try to worry myself about the things I need to do or to get down on myself for not doing enough; instead, it is about mindfulness and being present in our daily lives. This can also be done by being extra kind to yourself, even if you do not feel like it. Being kind to yourself when you are grieving has helped me to get back to a normal routine with the expectation that I do not have to have everything figured out immediately.

Unfortunately, grief is a part of our lives, but it is the strategies we take to cope with it that will determine how we overcome, persevere and move forward. Remember you are not alone and that there are plenty of support systems for to seek out and opportunities to treat ourselves with kindness during these times.

Jennifer Brown is a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. Originally from Florida, she joined the Navy in 2018 and has been on the island for over a year. During her free time, Brown enjoys spending time with animals, running, rock climbing, and hiking. She is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her professional interests include social work, animal welfare, and children.

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