Lee Valls talks about the importance of acknowledging feelings of grief on Happiful’s new mental health podcast I am. I have - How it Helps
Counselling Directory Member and Clinical Director of The London Practice, Lee Valls, returns to our podcast shorts, I am. I have - How It Helps to talk about bereavement, grief and how therapy can help if you are struggling with loss.
The death of someone close will impact each of us at some point in our lives and Lee explains why it is so important to address the grief that follows. He tells us there are no hard rules around grief or the length of time you may experience feelings of loss but the most important thing is to allow these feelings and acknowledge them.
“Allow yourself to feel sad, allow yourself to express that sadness, don’t put a pressure on yourself to 'get over it'. The first year is particularly difficult because you experience the ‘firsts’, first birthday and first anniversaries without that person.
“Once that year is over, it can get a little easier but that doesn’t mean the sadness goes and that’s ok and normal too - its ok not to be ok.”
Therapy, Lee says, can really help someone to express themselves and to talk about their feelings around loss - whether that’s sadness, anger or a whole host of other feelings. It’s about helping someone through a massive period of adjustment and to explore how they continue in their ‘new norm’.
Aside from considering therapy, when discussing how we can help ourselves Lee notes that there are some simple steps we can all take. “When we’re grieving, we can forget to look after ourselves and that self-care is so important.
“You need that oxygen mask on yourself - you need to make sure that you are resting, sleeping and eating. People in grief often forget to eat, but you have to keep looking after yourself, despite how you might feel.”
- Make sure that you look after yourself.
- Do not self-medicate with drink or drugs.
- Know that it’s ok to be sad and acknowledge your sadness and loss.
- Think about what your loved one would have wanted for you. That can help you give yourself the care you need.
- Consider therapy as a space for you to express your feelings and talk about your loss, and life after the death.
You can listen to Lee’s third episode of I am. I have - How It Helps now, as well as interviews with Jo Love, Estee Lalonde and Ben Bidewell (AKA The Naked Professor).
You can contact Lee Valls through Counselling Directory, as well as around 15,000 other counsellors across the UK.
Listen to I am. I have and please rate, review, share and subscribe if you like what you hear.