The loss of a loved one can result in a period of grieving that’s emotionally straining and difficult to manage. Though everyone processes their strong emotions in different ways, we thought it might be helpful to take a look at ten ways to cope with grief and bereavement. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a good a place to start.
- Talk about it
One of the ways to cope with grief is talking to someone you know well about how you’re feeling can often help ease the grief of losing a loved one. Expressing yourself is an important means of processing events and acknowledging how much of an effect an individual had on you.
- Understand that these are natural feelings
When grieving, it’s helpful to understand that the strong emotions you’re experiencing are natural and not something to suppress or be concerned about. After the loss of a loved one, some people struggle with their grief, interpreting it as weakness of character or as something to be ashamed of. However, this simply isn’t true. Those feelings that often constitute grief – sadness, anger and betrayal, amongst others – are natural responses to bereavement and should be treated as such.
- Eat well
Your diet has an enormous impact on both your mental state and general health. Changing it radically, by eating unhealthy foods, consuming too much or not eating enough, can make coping with grief even more difficult.
- Maintain your routine
Routine can have a calming and soothing effect on those suffering with grief as it allows them to begin resuming their own lives after the loss of someone close. If your regular routine is interrupted, it can encourage feelings of being adrift without direction or purpose.
- Avoid substances that seem to help you cope
There are a number of substances, most notably alcohol and other drugs, which seem to help numb pain and grief. Though this may appear to help you overcome your immediate problems, it is more likely to leave you feeling worse when the grief inevitably returns and it may also result on you becoming dependent on the substance for emotional support.
- Give yourself time
The grieving process can vary in length from person to person. While some people will find themselves feeling better and leaving those emotions behind within a matter of weeks, others can feel the effects for years. When it comes to coping with grief, it’s important that you’re patient and recognise that time contributes to your healing in a powerful way.
- Try not to disrupt your sleeping pattern
Though you may experience trouble sleeping after losing a loved one, it’s helpful to try and keep to your regular sleeping hours if possible. Grieving can be a draining, and emotionally and physically tiring process, so sleep plays a vital part in helping you cope.
- Join a support group
It’s often beneficial to be with, and speak to, others that are going through the same process. While they’re not for everyone, support groups can help you feel less alone and give you a forum in which to express yourself openly.
While we often acknowledge that talking about your feelings can result in a rewarding emotional release, it’s also important to recognise the benefits of a physical release. Regular exercise allows you to work out some of your internal thoughts and feelings in a purely physical manner and stimulates the production of biological substances that can help you cope with your grief.
- See your GP
Finally, if you’re struggling with your grief and feel you need to talk to someone, it’s a good idea to visit your GP. They should be able to help you to take the first steps in processing your grief and can usually point you in the direction of other services that may also be of assistance.