Should we be scheduling our grief like Shiv from Succession?
This article contains Succession spoilers
Succession has taught us a lot about family life, mainly how not to conduct relationships with your siblings, but could it have uncovered a new way for us to mourn, carving out moments in your diary to schedule your grief?
As the final series continues, *SPOILER ALERT*, we are seeing the clan wrestling with the fall-out from the unexpected death of the force that was Logan Roy.
While the sale of the business and the question of who will take over commands immediate attention, it appears the family are struggling to find time to mourn the loss of their father.
But in episode four, we see Shiv revealing her own unique way of carving out time to cope with her emotions – taking time out from the family fall-outs and power moves to block out some time in the working day to grieve.
Following another sibling bust-up, we see Shiv reveal she has another, more urgent "appointment" to attend and soon learn her PA has reserved her a room for some time to be alone with her feelings.
“You’re scheduling your grief?” her estranged husband Tom asks, on learning of his wife's reason for her board room-booking.
Tom's surprise at Shiv's seemingly unique method of coping with a bereavement is obvious, but is there actually something in it?
Read more: Why running is good for grief
Should we all be scheduling our grief?
Booking in time in the calendar to mourn the loss of a loved one might seem like an unusual way to tackle the grieving process, but according to psychology expert and neuroscientist Laura Ellera there could be some benefits to making space to grieve.
"As a neuroscientist, when it comes to experiencing and navigating grief, I believe scheduling is a good idea," she explains.
"Creating routines and structure can have a powerful impact on our ability to heal in loss."
Ellera believes it is important to allow yourself time to grieve on a regular basis, and that's where scheduling could be useful.
"If we get too busy, our brains push grief into the background and then this can result in us not processing the emotions and this is when they can rear when we are not expecting them, often showing up as an overreaction to something completely unrelated," she adds.
Grief expert, Lianna Champ, author of How to Grieve Like A Champ agrees that setting aside planned times to process and experience your grief can have certain advantages.
"Some may find it helpful to schedule dedicated times for their grief to feel a sense of stability and control, allowing themselves to immerse in their emotions," she explains.
Watch: Richard E. Grant says sometimes grief hits him 'like a tsunami'
But the method may not be for everyone.
"Whilst in theory this sounds very tidy and neat, scheduling grief can be a challenging concept because grief is natural and often unpredictable, catching us at times we least expect it to," she explains.
Whether it’s a good idea, she says, depends on each person and their unique circumstances and also the relationship they had with the person who has died.
"Some may need to leave their grief to its own ebb and flow and let it be addressed as it arises naturally," she explains.
"Plus scheduling our emotions won’t always work as we cannot flick a switch to turn our grief on and off. Grief won’t always adhere to a schedule and there may be an element of frustration if scheduled grief time leaves you feeling ‘unfinished’," she adds.
Read More: The five stages of grief: How to cope with loss
As well as not necessarily working for everyone, Champ says there are some other downsides to trying to grieve within scheduled pockets of time.
"Compartmentalising grief into specific times can suppress your true emotions that need to be processed," she warns. "It's important to allow your grief to be experienced and expressed as it arises, rather than trying to contain it within specific times."
Scheduling grief can also sometimes lead to an emotional overload.
"Trying to cram all the pain into one session can flood the body and mind, potentially making it more difficult to cope and process the emotions effectively," she adds.
"Attempting to fit your grief into a rigid framework can also create inner conflict as you fight against your own natural, instinctive and authentic way of grieving.
"Our grief experiences are as unique to us as our own fingerprint. We must listen to our bodies in times of loss because that is where our healing comes from – within.
According to Champ, grief is a period of transition and is probably one of the experiences in our lives where our instincts can be the strongest.
"Trying to pigeonhole can mean that we miss healing messages, urges and instincts," she adds.
However, Champ believes that scheduling self-care – which is vital during our grief experiences, can be of great benefit and can help to process your emotions.
"Engaging in activities that bring you comfort can contribute to your overall wellbeing during your times of grieving," she says.
"Self-care can be in the form of journaling (my favourite – I call it 'the power of the pen'), exercise, walking in nature, aromatherapy bathing etc. All these are a form of scheduling grief, as self-care is aways part of the process."
Read More: How to manage the grief lull during the period after a funeral
Scheduling time for grief: the know-how
Acknowledge your emotions
Grief is the normal and natural emotion following the loss of someone we love or something we value. "It is a natural and necessary process and we must allow it to happen or we can carry residual grief, which can become impacted as we experience other losses," Champ explains.
Set aside specific times in your day or week to focus on your grief
This could include journaling, or just sitting with your emotions or engaging in activities that help you process your feelings.
"Trying to find words that describe how your are feeling is very powerful too and helps you to put your grief into words," Champ explains.
"Having dedicated time can also give you the space you need to fully experience your emotions."
Sometimes you won’t be able to raise your feelings in your scheduled times so let that be ok.
"Grief doesn't adhere to a strict schedule and it can hit like a wave from behind," Champ explains. "Be prepared to adjust your scheduled times as needed. Some days you may need more time for these sessions or you may be in a ‘coping zone’ and won’t need to schedule time."
Read more: Sharon Stone opens up about 'immeasurable grief' as she copes with loss of brother
Talk to others
Sharing your emotions with others is also an excellent way to help you process your pain.
"Choose someone who will listen without judgement, without speaking about themselves and their own experiences. This will make you feel heard," Champ adds.
And your instincts when it comes to scheduling time for grief. "We have to work with our own personality too," Champ explains.
"If you find it particularly challenging or overwhelming, seek professional help with your scheduling. While establishing a routine or structure can provide a sense of stability, it's crucial to remain flexible and allow the grieving process to unfold naturally."