The Community Care & Wellbeing program

Coping with grief

When a loved one dies, people often find coping with grief difficult. This grief can then present itself in poor mental health and make daily life a struggle.

If you are currently in the process of coming to terms with your loss, our team at the Community Care & Wellbeing program has put together a range of support resources and activities that may help.

Supporting you in grief

The CCW was established for those experiencing bereavement or grief. Our team works closely with Grief Australia, an independent, not for profit organisation that has been operating since January 1996.

Due to their extensive experience, much of the information we have provided to you has been informed by Grief Australia.

Guests at the Community Care & Wellbeing program

"[Grief] is the normal, natural and inevitable response to loss, and it can affect every part of our life, including our thoughts, behaviours, beliefs, feelings, physical health and our relationships with others."

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Your grief is unique to you

Everyone grieves in their own way and there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to grieve.

Other factors, such as culture, gender and belief systems can also influence the ways you grieve. It is a highly personal experience, and at CCW we understand the importance of respecting that each and every individual will have their own way of grieving.

The Community Care & Wellbeing program

If you have experienced loss, you may be experiencing one or more of the following feelings:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Disbelief
  • Panic
  • Relief
  • Irritability

Grief can also affect your thinking and may cause physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, nausea, aches and pains.

This is a basic overview of how grief may be affecting you. For a better understanding, we encourage you to read the ‘About Grief’ fact sheet from the Grief Australia website here.

Helping yourself during difficult times

If you are grieving, you may not be putting your needs first. However, taking the time to look after yourself can make a big difference to your wellbeing. The following suggestions may help you to get through some difficult times:

  • Try to delay major decisions that cannot be reversed for 6–12 months, e.g. disposing of belongings
  • Keep a diary or journal
  • Create a memorial
  • Develop your own rituals, e.g. light a candle, listen to special music, make a special place to think
  • Allow yourself to express your thoughts and feelings privately, e.g. write a letter or a poem, draw or collect photos
  • Exercise to use pent-up energy, e.g. walking, swimming, cycling, gardening
  • Draw on your religious or spiritual beliefs and practices
  • Explore other people’s experiences through books, movies and articles
  • Do things you find relaxing and soothing, such as drawing, writing or listening to music
  • Try self-care, including meditation, relaxation and massage
  • To help with sleeplessness, exercise, limit alcohol and caffeine and try to maintain a routine, especially around bedtime

Books to support you in grief

There are many good books available to support you during grief. We also encourage reading as a way to cope and manage grief. Drifting away into a good book for an hour or two can be a wonderful way to bring back a sense of calm and focus your thoughts for a time.

Here are our top 5 suggested readings for dealing with grief and bereavement:

  • Library of Grief related books - Dr Alan Wolfelt
  • Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life - by Andrew Anastasios
  • Coping with Grief - by Mal and Dianne McKissock
  • Stuck for Words What to Say to Someone Who Is Grieving - by Doris Zagdanski
  • After Life, After You - by S.K. Reid

Further support from specialist organisations

If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief and are struggling, we encourage you to speak to a health professional.

We have listed some support organisations below.

The Community Care & Wellbeing program

Get in touch

Coping with grief is never easy. However, The Community Care & Wellbeing program is a supportive space for people who have experienced loss. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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