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Coping with grief and loss

Grief is a terrible but unavoidable emotion we will likely all experience at some point in our lives. It is usually linked to the loss of a living being that has died, but there are many different ways we may experience grief.

You might find you are grieving a period of time in your life or a person who has not died but is no longer part of your life, you may find you’re grieving your health or grieving a specific scenario.

Illustration of a person with a blue sweater and long black hair looking sad and holding a smiling emoji mask in their hands

Grief can affect us emotionally, physically, behaviorally, socially, culturally, and spiritually. It can knock you off your feet and change the way you feel about the world for a period of time.

It’s important to remember that there is absolutely no right or wrong way to deal with grief, but there are things you can do that may help you to cope with the overwhelming and intense feeling of sorrow.

1) Accept your grief and acknowledge how you are feeling

It is really important that you try to allow yourself to feel the emotions that are associated with grief, rather than ignoring them or denying them of existing. Suppressing these emotions can prolong the healing process.

To help, you may want to journal. You can note down each day how you are feeling and what emotions have arisen. It may also help you notice patterns. For example, on a very stressful week or if you’re particularly tired, you may experience more feelings associated with grief. You may want to cry more, feel less motivated to study, or want to socialize less.

These are very normal responses to grief and once you accept it’s ok to feel however your body needs to feel, you will handle each day slightly better.

2) Talk to others and reach out for support

You are not alone! Grief is something that almost every single person will experience at some point in their life, many of the people you know probably already have. Talk to your pals, your peers, your family, or a therapist if need be to help you process your feelings.

Sometimes just being able to say ‘I’m feeling really terrible’ and hearing someone else say ‘I’m here for you’ will help you to feel less isolated in your situation and to cope better overall.

Your friends may also have some really good advice on what has worked for them to help them grieve. Your peers are also better off knowing how you’re truly feeling so they can help and be there for you going forward.

3) Look after yourself and your health

We say it a lot and we’ll say it again, but eating healthily, getting enough sleep and exercising will more often than not help you to manage and process the emotions you will go through during the grieving process.

Moving your body and filling it with nutrients will improve your general wellbeing and allow your brain to better cope with the very natural but unpleasant response to grief. You could try and find a local group activity such as a walking or yoga group with other people who are going through similar things as you.

You could access specific groups online, including on our platform, where people are sharing their own healing process and the truth of how they are feeling about their loss. Sharing stories may help you to feel less alone and improve your general outlook on the grief you’re experiencing.

4) Honor your loved one

It may take a while, but once you have been able to accept the loss and understand it is now a part of your life, you may be able to move forward and honor your loved one or the loss you’ve faced.

Think of things that your loved one enjoyed and try to do them too. If you lost your loved one to a specific cause, you could find other people who have been through a similar loss and all set out to do something together, perhaps even to raise money for a charity associated with the cause.

Often these things are a positive distraction and allow your mind to focus on doing something for good. You could also create a memorial in honor of your loss and invite others to join you in raising a toast and celebrating life!

5) Give yourself time

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book "On Death and Dying," proposed the five stages of grief to help understand the emotional journey of individuals facing terminal illness or loss. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, finally, acceptance.

While not everyone experiences each stage, they provide valuable insights into how people cope with profound emotional challenges. These stages have been widely recognized and used as a framework for understanding grief and offering support to those in need.

Grief is incredibly personal, and it takes a lot of time to get through each stage. Don’t try and ignore or rush through the feelings and reactions you’re experiencing.

Some days will be better than others. Some days will be very tough. Again, try to accept the varying responses your mind and body are having and use the tips above to calm an overwhelmed brain if you need.

6) Seek professional help if needed

If you are struggling to cope with grief, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can provide support and guidance.

Grief is a difficult and deeply personal experience, often leaving people feeling isolated and lonely in their pain. We hope this advice can offer you solace and help you create a path toward healing and better coping with the pain of losing someone you love.


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