We know that grief doesn't follow a timeline or have a predetermined end point. In fact, it's completely normal to have intense feelings of grief years after your person has died. Often times, intense feelings can come unexpectedly without warning. Here are a few things you can try that may help when grief gets intense.
1. Breathe. When we get tense we tend to hold our breath or have short, shallow breaths. Notice how you are breathing and then try slowing it down, breathing more into your belly, and exhaling a little longer than you inhale.
2. Move your body. This doesn’t have to be a sport (but it can be) — take a walk, do a push-up, dance, or try cleaning. It's strange, but it can help!
3. Express yourself. Write, draw, organize, listen to/play music, or anything else that lets you express yourself.
4. Make room for whatever feelings are coming up. If you try to push them away, they will probably just push back harder. Feelings change and they won’t last forever. Grief has no timeline, but it does change over time.
5. Be kind — to yourself. People who are grieving tend to give themselves a really hard time for not doing grief right — whatever that “right” might be. Remind yourself you’re doing the best you can in the moment and that it’s okay if you’re having a hard time.
6. Be a good friend — to yourself. Experiment with telling yourself you can do this, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
7. Ask for help. We know this one can be really hard and scary to do. Keep it simple and remember that people usually want to help, they are just waiting to be asked.
8. Take time to celebrate whatever is going well. When you’re grieving it can be hard to make space for feeling good. You might feel guilty if you find yourself laughing or having a good time. Taking a break from grief doesn’t mean you love or miss the person any less.