Is It Possible to Take a Break from Grief?

serene turquoise blue ocean_green and gold plants in foreground_blue sky_take a break from griefIs is possible to take a break from grief? Stick with me for a moment and let me explain. Please! I think it’s not only possible at times, but necessary, to take a break from grief.

I will say, without a doubt, that grief is one of the most difficult experiences any of us will face in life. The idea of taking a break from grief does not in any way minimize or make light of its intense pain, effects, or significance. I recognize the deep and complex impact of grief that follows loss. In fact, its fierce and powerful characteristics are exactly why we need to take a break from grief.

Stop and think. The grieving process is not quick. Its pain is piercing and invades all parts of your life. How long can anyone stand this kind of intensity and penetrating focus without a break?

We all need moments, activities, and experiences to break away and recharge, refresh, restore, revive, and renew ourselves for the journey ahead. Taking a break from grief helps you regain physical strength, emotional courage and determination, and the necessary hope so you can ‘keep on keeping on’ through your grief journey.

Taking a break from grief will surely mean different things to different people. Taking a break is one of the most respectful things you can do for yourself and your journey. You’re actually equipping yourself to carry on and not give up before your grief work is done. Hello Grief posted an article called “Finding a Balance: Self Care Quiz” that helps grievers realize how important it is to take care of themselves while they’re grieving—and gauge how they’re doing. I don’t think self-care and maintaining a positive balance are ideas grievers typically consider.

I know you can’t just turn grief on and off like flipping a switch—but, in time, you can step back from its full force and allow yourself to focus on a diversion. When you’re grieving, grief affects everything around you, but I think that’s the key to taking a break. Push grief from center stage to the background for a time.

Taking a break may mean a change of scenery, a ‘vacation’ away from home. It may mean losing yourself in a book, a movie, or a play. It may mean an enjoyable time with a friend. It may mean an escape into a hobby that consumes your attention and creativity. It may mean spending time and getting caught up in the laughter and wonder of a child or grandchild. It may mean a long-needed rest for your weary mind and body, getting a massage, or visiting a spa retreat.

Whatever you decide, take a break from grief that is meaningful and tailored just for you! Think about what you need and how a particular break will serve you best.

I’d love to hear about your experience. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me.

© 2013 Judy Brizendine

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8 Responses to “Is It Possible to Take a Break from Grief?”

  1. An important message for sure, Judy ~ thank you for this! I’ve added a link to your piece on Twitter and at the base of my own blog post, “Physical Reactions to Loss,” here:

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for your message, Marty! And thank you for sharing the article on your network. Your blog post is a wonderful addition to this one, so I’m going to link to it from mine. Thank you for sharing it with me!!

  2. Great post, Judy. Isn’t this the truth? Taking a break is a life saver, or it was for me…when I gave myself permission to consciously leave it behind for a while. And, rest assured, it’s always there to meet you on your return!

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by to read the article and share your thoughts, Becky! What you’ve said is so true–it’s always there to meet you on your return! I think we sometimes don’t realize that we can give ourselves a break. There seem to be so many misunderstandings about grief. I hope talking about this will help people to realize we do have some options when we’re grieving.

  3. Gale Massey says:

    Taking a break from grief is useful and well-advised. If you can’t get out of town try a novel and a day on the sofa. Good reminder.

    • admin says:

      I totally agree, Gale! Taking a break doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive–just something that feeds your soul, rests your body, and diverts your attention.

      Thanks so much for reading the article and sharing your thoughts!!


  4. Lesley says:

    I agree it is so important to allow ourselves to focus on something different and positive. It’s impossible to grieve 24/7 in any case, and so healthy to concentrate on other people, friends, family or activites. Of course, it should be mentioned that this is not the same as going into complete denial. Grief needs to be faced, and experienced, and worked through, but not every minute of every day.

    Thanks for the thought provoking article.

    • admin says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said, Lesley. Taking a break is not the same as going into complete denial–it’s just a healthy break from the intensity of grief. Absolutely, grief needs to be faced, experienced, and worked through, but not constantly without any relief, as you mentioned.

      Thank you for reading the article and sharing your thoughts! And thank you for your kind comment.