I work with a lot of clients who are grieving. They come to counseling overwhelmed and often times haven't really even started grieving yet. They have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and friends. They have lost sons, daughters, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, homes, jobs and dreams. Grief is a tough, complicated beast. It hits us out of nowhere and can knock us down in a split second. It comes in waves and never fully goes away. People experiencing grief often try to compartmentalize it, lock it away or save it for "later". Grief does not typically comply with these requests and rules. Grief invades, takes over and settles in when we least expect it and when we'd rather it not. Healthy grieving includes giving ourselves permission to grieve. It may not be pretty, it may not go according to our schedule or wishes but it's needed and healthy to walk with grief when it pops up. Clients tell me about the many ways they shove their grief aside, stuff it back down and hide it away. These reactions are normal; we typically do what we can to avoid pain. But it's healthier to find ways to incorporate the grief into daily life whenever it decides to show up. I'm not saying you have to take the rest of the day off work if grief shows up mid-morning (though maybe that's not a bad idea and maybe you need that- that's OK). It's important to find ways to honor the feelings, acknowledge the grief and then ease back into the task at hand. Perhaps that looks like taking a 5 minute walk outside thinking about the loss, the pain and the grief. Maybe it looks like sending an email to a friend or loved one about the pain and sadness you are experiencing. It might look like writing yourself a brief note about the memories, thoughts or feelings that grief has brought up and then scheduling a time later that day to come back to those and pay special attention to them. The key is to allow yourself to pay attention to the feelings, thoughts and memories that are there when they arrive; feel them, think them, remember them, even if it's only briefly. You can limit how much time you stay in that place but giving yourself time to grieve in that moment is an important part of healthy grieving. Counseling can help you learn ways to grieve as well as uncover patterns and reasons for pushing the grieve aside. I hope we can all work towards letting ourselves grieve.