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National Grief Awareness Week 2023

National Grief Awareness Week 2023 is an annual event held from the 2nd - 8th December. This awareness week is aimed at fostering understanding, compassion, and support for individuals experiencing grief whilst aiming to create a safe space for individuals to openly discuss their experiences with bereavement.


During this week, communities, organisations, and individuals come together to share stories, offer support, and raise awareness about the importance of acknowledging and addressing grief. The aim is to create a more empathetic and supportive society where people feel comfortable expressing their emotions and seeking help when needed.


How Can Grief Affect You?


Grief is a universal human experience that follows the loss of a loved one, and it can manifest in various forms, affecting people emotionally, mentally, and physically. National Grief Awareness Week 2023 aims to spread awareness and knowledge on the different aspects of grief and how it can affect individuals, allowing them to find coping mechanisms that align to their needs.


Emotional Impact


The emotional impact of grief is profound and can manifest in a myriad of ways, creating a complex tapestry of feelings that individuals must navigate. At the core of this experience is often an overwhelming sense of sadness and sorrow. When grief is overwhelming and powerful, it can seem to have no end. Grief this extensive is called complicated grief, which affects between 10% to 20% of grievers. Grieving individuals may find themselves engulfed in waves of intense emotion, grappling with the pain of loss that can be both noticeable and enduring. This deep emotional upheaval is not confined to sadness alone; anger is another common facet of grief. Whether directed inward, toward the self, or outward, towards external factors, anger can surface as individuals grapple with the injustice or unfairness they perceive in the circumstances surrounding the loss.


Guilt is yet another emotional toll that individuals going thorough bereavement deal with. Those mourning may wrestle with feelings of remorse, questioning whether they could have done more or made different choices. This self-imposed guilt can become a heavy burden, adding an additional layer of complexity to the emotional landscape. Anxiety often accompanies grief, with individuals worrying about an uncertain future or fearing further losses. The emotional impact of grief, therefore, extends beyond the immediate pain of loss, influencing the way individuals perceive themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. It is a tumultuous journey marked by a spectrum of emotions that demand acknowledgment, understanding, and support.


Physical Impact


Grieving individuals often find themselves grappling with fatigue, a pervasive weariness that stems from the emotional toll of mourning. The grieving process can be mentally and physically draining, leaving individuals with a profound sense of exhaustion that transcends typical feelings of tiredness. As many as 91% of individuals with complicated grief report sleep problems and forty-six percent say they have trouble sleeping, specifically due to their grief, at least three times per week. Sleep disturbances are another common physical manifestation of grief, as the mind wrestles with the swirling emotions, leading to disrupted sleep patterns. Some may experience insomnia, finding it challenging to quiet their racing thoughts, while others may seek solace in excessive sleep as an escape from the pain.


Appetite changes may also occur during the grief process. In 2013, surveys indicated that 30% of adults in the United States reported skipping a meal due to stress, with almost 70% noting the cause as lack of appetite. Individuals may encounter a loss of interest in food, leading to a decrease in appetite, or conversely, they may turn to food for comfort, resulting in an increase in intake. These fluctuations in eating habits reflect the intricate connection between emotional and physical well-being during the grieving process. Additionally, grief can manifest in various physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach-aches, and muscle tension, further underscoring the holistic impact of loss on an individual's overall health.


Cognitive Impact


The cognitive impacts of grief extend beyond the realm of emotion, influencing the way individuals think, process information, and engage with the world around them. One prominent cognitive effect is the difficulty in concentration. Grieving individuals often find it challenging to focus on tasks or sustain attention, as their minds may be preoccupied with the thoughts and memories associated with the loss. This cognitive fog can impede daily functioning and contribute to a sense of disorientation as individuals navigate their altered reality.


Memory issues are another cognitive facet of grief. A 2019 research review on neuroimaging suggests that the more severe a person's grief reaction, the greater the effect on the brain. Forgetfulness becomes a common companion as individuals grapple with the emotional weight of their loss, affecting their ability to recall details, conversations, or even routine activities. The cognitive impact of grief also extends to decision-making. The process of making choices may become more arduous as individuals contend with the emotional burden, and the future may appear uncertain, making decisions seem more daunting than before.


Social Impact


The social impact of grief reverberates through a person's interpersonal connections, reshaping relationships and influencing how individuals navigate their social worlds. One significant aspect is the potential for isolation. 22% of British adults who have been bereaved of a close family member said they felt lonely and a further 39% reported difficulties in getting support from friends and family. Grieving individuals may feel emotionally isolated, as the intense and nuanced nature of their grief may be challenging for others to fully comprehend. This emotional distance can lead to a sense of loneliness, even in the presence of friends and family, as the grieving person grapples with the unique and often isolating aspects of their loss.


The dynamics of relationships can undergo profound changes during grief. Some friendships may strengthen as friends provide much-needed support, empathy, and understanding. However, other relationships may strain under the weight of grief, as friends and family members may struggle to find the right words or actions to comfort the grieving individual. Research shows 23% of British adults who have been bereaved of a close family member wished their friends had visited in person. The fear of burdening others with their pain can also lead grieving individuals to withdraw socially, creating a rift between themselves and their support network. Negotiating the social landscape during grief is a delicate process, and fostering open communication, empathy, and patience within relationships becomes crucial in navigating these complex dynamics.


Behavioural Impact

The behavioural impact of grief is evident in the profound changes that individuals may undergo as they navigate the complex landscape of loss. Studies have documented disruptions in daily routines. Grief can disrupt established habits and patterns, as the bereaved grapple with the emotional and practical challenges associated with their loss. Simple, everyday activities may become arduous tasks as individuals navigate the waves of grief that can ebb and flow unpredictably.


Another behavioural manifestation is the tendency for some grieving individuals to seek solitude. In an attempt to process their emotions, reflect on their loss, or simply find moments of respite, individuals may withdraw from social interactions and activities they once found enjoyable. On the other hand, some individuals may immerse themselves in activities or work as a way to distract from their pain. The busyness becomes a temporary shield against the emotional turbulence of grief, though it may not necessarily provide a sustainable or comprehensive means of coping.


Wellity Sessions Around National Grief Awareness Week 2023


This National Grief Awareness Week 2023 Wellity are here to support you with our specifically designed sessions around grief.



Although often associated with being physically alone, loneliness is actually experienced when there is a mismatch between the quantity and quality of the social relationships that we have, and those that we want. Research shows that around 1 in 10 workers feel lonely at work often or always, and nearly half experience loneliness at work some of the time.


This enlightening session delves into the profound impact of loneliness and provides participants with invaluable insights on how to cultivate a sense of connection for those around us. By emphasising the importance of social wellbeing, attendees will learn practical approaches to supporting colleagues who may be experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, whether physically or mentally.


Objectives:

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the psychological and physiological impact of loneliness.

  • Explore strategies to promote social wellbeing and facilitate meaningful connections within personal and professional environments.

  • Gain insight into the challenges that contribute to feelings of isolation, equipping participants with practical tools to address loneliness effectively.

  • Learn effective communication techniques and empathetic listening skills to provide support and validation for colleagues experiencing loneliness and isolation.



While grief is a universal phenomenon, the pain of loss is deeply personal to everyone. In this session, we embrace the power of empathy and connection, recognising that the individual experience of loss is as unique as a fingerprint. Together, we embark on a compassionate journey, exploring the depths of grief's complexities as we navigate the waves of grief.


We will equip participants who are navigating their own profound losses with the tools to foster resilience, as well as teaching attendees how to offer solace to those in need, empowering them to become beacons of support during these difficult times.


Objectives:

  • Develop a profound understanding of the multifaceted nature of grief.

  • Explore effective strategies to provide meaningful support to those experiencing grief and loss.

  • Gain insights into the transformative power of self-care in the face of grief, equipping individuals with practical techniques to nurture their own resilience.

  • Identify healthy coping mechanisms and resources that can aid in the grieving process.

  • Foster a community of understanding and support, promoting healing, and facilitating connection.

For any information on these sessions, contact our team at hello@wellityglobal.com today.




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