7 Healthy Ways to Cope With the Loss of a Loved One

There’s truly nothing worse than experiencing the loss of a loved one. Nothing can prepare you for the immense sadness and pain of saying goodbye to a friend, family, co-worker, or neighbor, but there are ways to help you come to terms with your loss in a healthy, positive manner. If you or someone you know is experiencing bereavement, take a look at these seven healthy ways to cope with the loss of a loved one.

  1. Give yourself time to grieve:

    Everyone grieves in different ways and at different times, but one thing’s for sure, you can’t rush it. It is a gradual process that is often described as five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For some people, the symptoms only last a few months, while others take a year or longer to overcome their grief. It’s important to remember that grief is a healthy response to loss and your individual grief is not on a timeline, so long as it does not interfere with your overall health and daily life.

  2. Let family and friends help:

    Grieving the loss of a loved one is a highly personal experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let others in or allow them to help when you need it. Let your family and friends help by making calls, grocery shopping, and cooking food when you feel too weak or mentally drained to do it yourself. Not only will it take some of the pressure off of you, but having company around can also help lift your spirits.

  3. Focus on yourself:

    Taking good care of yourself when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one may be the last thing on your mind, but it is a necessity in this time of sadness. Although you may not have much of an appetite or feel like going outside, you owe it to yourself to eat well, exercise, and relax. Take the time to focus on your mind, body, and spirit by reading, writing in a journal, or meditating.

  4. Seek professional help:

    Sometimes, even the best of friends and family members cannot counsel you in this time of need. When your grief seems like too much to bear, it is best to seek professional help from a general psychologist or one that specializes in grief counseling. Counseling lets you express your thoughts and feelings to an unbiased listener who can help you overcome the pain and come to terms with your loss.

  5. Memorialize the deceased:

    Memorializing the deceased is a healthy way to cope with the loss of a loved one and can be done individually or as a group. There are many ways to honor some who has passed away, including writing a poem or letter and reading it at the gravesite, holding a candlelight vigil, planting a tree in remembrance, or volunteering for their favorite charity.

  6. Postpone major life changes:

    It’s completely normal and advisable to postpone major life changes while you mourn the loss of a loved one. Major changes like moving, changing jobs, remarrying, or having another child can increase stress and worsen the emotions you’re already experiencing. It is important to give yourself time to adjust to the loss of a loved one and slowly ease into the next stage of life.

  7. Cherish the memories:

    It’s important that you cherish the memories you had with your loved one, and relieve those special moments by looking through old photos and videos and telling stories about your experiences. Recounting these memories may make you laugh or cry, but in either case, you’ll feel better afterward.