Coping with Grief
Healing from the loss of a loved one is an individual process and looks different for everyone. There are a few key tools in coping with grief that can be helpful to beginning this journey.
Coping with Grief and loss may be one of the hardest challenges a person will face in their lifetime. As with many aspects of grief, coping mechanisms come in all shapes and sizes and the process is not “one size fits all.” Here are a few suggestions for coping with the loss of a loved one.
Talk about it.
Many people find it healing to talk about the death of a loved one with friends, family or even colleagues. Sharing your feelings with others can help you grow the support network you need to cope. Talking with others may help you understand what happened and remember your friend or family member. Avoidance can lead to isolation and will disrupt the healing process with your support systems. It is also okay to seek help when you need it. If you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed by emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a mental health professional who can help get you back on track.
Take care of yourself and your family.
The grieving process can take a toll on one’s body. Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting plenty of sleep can help your physical and emotional health. Make sure you also check in with your loved ones to ensure they are taking the necessary healthy steps to maintain their health. Taking care of yourself in this way will help you get through your day and move forward with the healing process.
Accept your feelings.
People experience many emotions after facing the loss of a loved one. Sadness, anger, frustration, exhaustion and even relief are all normal. These feelings are natural and it’s important to recognize when you are feeling these different emotions. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who can help you manage your feelings and cope with them in a healthy way without avoiding them all together.
Reach out and help others dealing with the loss.
Helping others has the added benefit of making you feel better as well. Spending time with loved ones of the deceased can help everyone cope. Share stories or listen to your loved one’s favorite music. These small efforts can make a big difference to some and help with the healing process.
Remember to celebrate the lives of your loved ones.
Anniversaries of a lost loved one can be a difficult time for friends and family, but it can also be a time for remembrance and honoring them. This may occur in many different forms from collecting donations to a favorite charity of the deceased, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. Choose a way to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you. It is also okay to recognize these as triggers and plan for them accordingly.
While these are just a few helpful tips, there are many others. It is an individual process and does not look the same for everyone. Remember to be patient with yourself and those around you and seek help when necessary. There is no race to the finish of the healing journey.