Tips on How to Better Handle Anticipatory Grief
Updated: Aug 10
When your loved one is declining in health, it can feel impossible to process your emotions. Grieving after loss may be familiar. But anticipatory grief is often more complicated. Here are some tips for prioritizing your behavioral health in the throws of this type of grief.
How to Combat Unhealthy Grief
Feel Your Feelings
It’s often difficult to interpret your emotions when you’re experiencing anticipatory grief. You might be feeling a mix of sadness, gratitude, guilt, and hesitation. Remember, all of that is valid. While it might be tempting to bury your emotions and stay strong, you need to allow yourself to experience this spectrum of feelings. Individual therapy will help you sift through your thoughts.
Do Your Research
Turning to the internet isn’t always helpful when you’re worried about a loved one. However, some basic research can tell you what to expect. You might do some reading about your loved one’s illness or the experiences of others in your shoes. This baseline knowledge may put your mind at ease as you ride this wave.
Join a Support Group
Coping with the realities of death can feel isolating. But it doesn’t have to be. Consider seeking out group counseling services focused on anticipatory grief. Empathizing with others and sharing stories is a healing experience. Group counseling activities can also provide coping mechanisms to make everyday life a bit easier.
Grief is all consuming, so self care is essential. Be sure to step back and take some time for yourself. Whether you go to the beach for the day or read for an hour, these moments will help you de-stress and recharge. It can also be helpful to maintain your daily routine (even a more flexible version).
Plan Special Moments
As you anticipate your loved one’s death, it’s easy to focus on the sadness. However, they are with you now. Try to plan special moments with them when you can. For example, if you’re caring for an aging parent, you might take them to the park or do a daily puzzle. These small moments of bonding will become precious memories.
Lean on Loved Ones
You don’t have to shoulder the burden of anticipatory grief alone. In fact, your friends and family members are likely experiencing the same feelings. Don’t hesitate to reach out and lean on each other. Sharing moments of sadness and joy with your loved ones can make the grieving process less difficult. And this is true for all forms of grief.
Here at The Collective, we understand how complicated anticipatory grief can be. Our Denver mental health services focus on your healing. Through individual therapy, group counseling, and holistic behavioral health services, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us today to start discussing your grief with one of our clinicians.