It is known that grief takes a tremendous toll on our well beings, whether it be emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. But, what one isn’t ever fully aware of is how to cope with grief when it can be such a difficult time in their life. Feeling alone and lost are normal, but what may not make sense is why being able to cope with grief feels impossible.
Here are a few things you can remember as you cope with the loss of a loved one.
- It won’t feel like this forever
- You can do it, even if you feel like you can’t
- Be gentle with yourself
- Think in cycles, not in lines
- Your feelings are normal
- Grief can beget meaning
- You are never alone
There are so many things that can help you in your grieving journey. As we already have gone over grief counseling and support groups, it is important to have other options. Although grief never magically starts to go away, healing and coping are extremely important. However, when things begin to remind you of that loved one, it is important to know how to cope and take care of yourself so you don’t spiral.
Be prepared. Anniversary reactions to grief are normal. Knowing that you’re likely to experience anniversary reactions can help you understand them and even turn them into opportunities for healing. Additionally, speaking with a loved one or a therapist about this can be especially helpful. Support groups or therapy can give you the tools to be able to prepare for these things mentally.
Surround yourself with others. Schedule a gathering or a visit with friends or loved ones during times when you’re likely to feel alone or be reminded of your loved one’s death. Although it is important to process, it is equally as important not to self-destruct, and feel like you have no other option but to be alone during these rough times. Loved ones, friends, your support group, or therapy sessions, as well as going to a yoga or meditation class with others can be a great way to make your mind feel a little better about the situation. Connecting with people and being able to process with others is vital.
Reminisce about your relationship. Focus on the good things about your relationship with your loved one and the time you had together, rather than the loss. Write a letter to your loved one or a note about some of your good memories. You can add to this note anytime. However, with this, try not to look back and regret things, or think about too much of what you can no longer control. Be in the present moment with your thoughts and feelings, try not to live in the past. This attempt to move forward can be challenging, but when you surround your mind with a positive reminder of what that loved one meant to you, it can play a huge role in learning how to find meaning from the situation.
Start a new tradition. Make a donation to a charitable organization in your loved one’s name on birthdays or holidays, or plant a tree in honor of your loved one. Connect something that may seem sad with something happy. Gather together with ones you love and celebrate the life of that person, rather than feeling sad that they aren’t with you anymore.
Connect with others. Draw friends and loved ones close to you, including people who were special to your loved one. Find someone who’ll encourage you to talk about your loss. Stay connected to your usual support systems, such as spiritual leaders and social groups. Consider joining a bereavement support group.
Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions. It’s OK to be sad and feel a sense of loss, but also allow yourself to experience joy and happiness. As you celebrate special times, you might find yourself both laughing and crying.