Teenage Grief: 10 Self-Care Coaching Tips for Teens Dealing With a Loss
Emotional Pain often Hurts more than Physical Pain
Emotional illness plagues many in society today. Unfortunately, due to numerous factors, we don't often tend to our emotional injuries the same as we do our physical injuries.
My Heart is Breaking
Dealing with a death can make a teenager grow up in a hurry. Regardless of the events surrounding a death, understanding loss, and coping with the emotions that come with it, are not easy. As a grieving teen, you may find that the adult(s) in your life may not be available to meet your needs, or may be trying to cope with the loss also; leaving you deal with additional emotional strain.
Grieving teenagers often find themselves confused, in pain, and needing relief and escape. Unfortunately, there is a common thread between grieving teens and addiction or problem behavior. Teenagers may try to find relief in being altered, unaware of the serious negative consequences to their well-being.
Taking care of yourself through the grieving process does not come with a simple solution. Grieving teens are often overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions, unaware how to feel better.
- Am I the only one who feels this way?
- I just want to be by myself.
- Everyone thinks they understand what I am going through.
- No one understands what I’m going through.
- I can’t talk to my friends.
- I can’t talk to my parents.
- I don't want to talk about things but people keep asking me too.
- When is this “sad feeling” going to stop?
- I am mad.
- I don’t know what I feel anymore.
- I wish people would stop telling me, “Move on.”
Whether young or old, emotional pain is often more trying to deal with than physical pain, because your heart is involved and breaking.
As a Professional Wellness and Recovery Coach, I understand the obstacles that stand in the way of recovering from a loss. Utilizing basic coaching tips can help you take care of yourself and get over the barriers that stand in the way during trying times.
10 Self-Care Coaching Tips for the Grieving Teen
1. Find Words / Talk: This is one of the most important tips, but often neglected. Don't be afraid to tell your parents or friends to pay attention to you too. Teens don't often know how to say words like, "don't forget me, I am grieving too", "I need you", "talk to me". Reminding those close to you to ask you "how you are doing", is an important self-care practice during times of grieving. It's important to remember that no one other than yourself can feel what you feel, or assume what your needs may be. You must speak up or no one will know how to help or relate to you. It's o.k. to ask for help, and feel good about it when you do.
2. Find a Safe Place: Whether you are in or out of school, it is important to find a safe place, or person to turn to when emotions break. School counselors are trained to understand how to deal with grieving teens, and is a great resource to turn to when at school. Tell the school counselor you are grieving. They can help you work through issues that may arise in your school, social, and family life because of your crisis. Grieving teens often find themselves with falling grades and school performance. A school counselor can assist with this, and make arrangements to help get you back on track. When you are not at school, it is still important to find someone to talk to other than a friend. If you are religious, you can turn to your leader, and many communities have family/children services that can help.
3. Get a Professional Therapist: A therapist will listen to you, provide guidance, tools and support for all areas of your life, or problems that may arise because of your emotional strain.
4. Find a Support Group: There are numerous approaches to finding a grief support group. Many communities, schools, and organizations have grief support groups. There are also online support groups for grieving teens that can be helpful. Support groups can help you to understand that you are not alone, and that many teens are grieving. Sharing stories, and seeing how others are handling their grief can help you too.
5. Exercise: Physical activity can do wonders for someone who is grieving, and can help with managing grief. Try to exercise once per day when possible. Go for a walk, ride your bike, play a sport, or take an exercise class. There are free online exercise routines also that you can do at home. Ask a friend to exercise with you, this can help keep you motivated!
6. Write about your Feelings: Journaling is putting your thoughts and feeling on paper. Journaling can make dealing with all that is going on in your head easier. You can find a private journal online, create your own, or get an actual journaling notebook; whatever you desire. A journal is a secret (unless you choose to share it), it is safe, and private. Journaling daily can help you to better understand your thoughts, and deal with your feelings.
7. Watch for Signs of Depression: When you are grieving, you are sad. Often times depression sets in, which requires medical attention. A grieving teen does not often know that they are depressed, they believe they are just feeling sad. When thoughts and activities take a sudden turn in a negative direction, it's important to understand that you may need to see a doctor. Thoughts of suicide, isolating yourself from friends and family, you can't get out of bed, disassociating yourself from activities you once enjoyed, and crying a lot throughout your day, are all signs. If you have thoughts of suicide whatsoever $6, you should seek help right away. Tell a parent or someone you are close to, call 911, or go to your local hospital emergency room. These feelings and thoughts are serious, and often progress if not addressed. Get help for depression if you show the signs.
8. Get a Recovery Coach: Recovery Coaches provide non-clinical, one on one support and guidance in all areas of crisis. They also deal with addiction, and can provide assistance if you are using addictive activities or vices to cope. A Recovery Coach will develop an action plan to help you recovery from your hardship. You can talk to a Recovery Coach online, or seek one in your community.
9. Consider a Greif Camp: Just as there are camps for sports and spiritual growth, there are camps specifically for grieving teens. You can check the internet for local and national grief camps for teens. These camps will provide you with support, but also with some fun and laughter which is often neglected during the grieving process.
10. Lean on your Faith or Spirituality: Regardless of what your source of spirituality may be, lean on it. If you don't have a source at this point in your life, perhaps this is a good time to search. Spirituality can help bring peace and comfort to you when your emotions get hard to deal with. It can also provide strength and help with personal growth through tough times. Using the grieving time to discover new things about yourself is not easy, but if you take some time to explore this, you may find it helps you in ways you never imagined.
Recovery is a Process
Dealing with a loss is a process. A process that consists of many emotions and stages. Grieving teens don't handle these emotions in the same way, and they move through the stages to healing at a different pace.
If you are a grieving teen, be patient with yourself, and try to find acceptance with the notion that healing and feeling better will take time. Don't rush the process or make yourself feel bad, for not feeling better sooner. Take care of yourself, and there will come a time when it doesn't hurt so bad. You will naturally feel yourself moving forward, and involved with life and laughter again.
Recovering from a loss is a journey, the grieving time is painful, but know that if you take care of yourself, you will move into acceptance, where you will experience deserved relief. Most important, remember that whoever it is that you lost would only want the best for you, and would not want to see you neglecting the beautiful person you are.