Loss is hard, especially when it is the loss of someone you love dearly. Here are 16 strategies to help you navigate your grief in a healthy manner.
Losing a loved one is heart breaking. It literally feels like something broke in your heart and it will never be whole again. When you deal with grief, you need a ton of emotional support from people who are close to you. Finding good people who support you during the grieving process is the key to recovery and the acceptance of loss.
When dealing with the loss of someone you love, it is imperative that you go through the grieving process without suppressing your emotions or pushing them down. You may have a grieving period which is short or long. Allow yourself the time to heal. Do not force yourself back to normalcy. It is unhealthy. the closer you were to the person you lost, longer the grief will take to resolve itself. However, if the grieving process is taking too long, like over 6 months, you may be going through complicated grief
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After the loss of someone you love, if the grieving period takes over 6 months and is not showing signs of reducing, then you are going through complicated grief. The most common signs of complicated grief are as follows:
- Inability to accept the loss of someone you love
- Continued disbelief in in the loss of someone you love
- Emotional numbness over the loss experienced
- Preoccupied with the thoughts of the lost loved one and how their life ended
- Intense emotional pain and sorrow including anger or bitterness.
- Blaming yourself for the loss of someone you love
- Unable to enjoy the good memories you had with your loved one
- Wishing to die just to be with the person you loved
- Avoiding reminders of the loss of someone you loved
- Eating and longing for the person who is gone
- Feeling detached from others, lonely and distrustful of people close to you
- Trouble going back to daily life
- Life seems empty or meaningless after the loss of someone you love
- Loss of purpose or identity
Sometimes it also happens that people who are caring for a loved one with a terminal illness start to suffer from complicated grief from the time the loved one is alive. The caretakers are under severe stress especially if the outlook looks bleak. Such family members or caretakers are at higher risk of suffering from complicated grief.
In case you or anyone you know who has lost a loved one and is showing the symptoms mentioned above, you must talk to a mental healthcare provider so that such people can receive treatment and get professional help navigating the loss of someone you love or someone they loved. Treatment is very important in this case, since such people are at elevated risk of the complicated grief getting worse and morphing into depression, anxiety issues or stress.
How to cope with the loss of someone you love?
Time is the first thing to focus on when dealing with the loss of someone you loved. Allowing yourself the time and support of those who love you will prove to be extremely helpful and beneficial on this journey. Eventually, you will learn to accept the loss, work through the associated pain and finally adjust to living life with the loss of someone you loved.
If you are suffering from the loss of someone you love, keep reading till the end and feel free to imply any of these 16 strategies to help yourself deal with grief.
Allow yourself to feel the pain
Do not bottle up the feelings inside or put them in compartments and push the compartments to the back of your mind. Do not let yourself or people around you tell you HOW YOU MUST FEEL. You will feel how you feel and it’s absolutely okay. Feeling angry at God or the person who left you is understandable and okay. Do not allow others to coerce you into feeling a certain way either. They did not share the same relationship with the deceased as you did.
Be patient with yourself
Grieving takes time. It is not a series of steps that you just go through and get it over with. You may even move back and forth between phases and that is okay. Do not put expectations or time frames on yourself to deal with grief. You must experience the pain, the associated emotions and finally go through the grief in your own manner.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. Be kind and non judgmental to yourself. Let your emotions work freely. No one else can tell you how to mourn, how long to mourn or how to work through the grieving process.
Acknowledge your feelings
Acknowledge all your feelings, even those which you don’t like. It’s okay to cry. Allow yourself to shed tears, wail in your sorrows and scream if needed. These are ways which will help you heal and deal with grief.
Ask for support
Talk to your loved ones. Do not isolate yourself. Talk to your loved ones about your experiences, loss, shared memories with the deceased and how the death of your loved one is affecting you. If you are thinking that you will protect your loved ones by not sharing your grief with them is wrong. Your family is there to support you. They want to help you out. Therefore, take their support. By this you might share the grief of someone else who is dealing with the loss of the same person. You can also talk to other friends or people who have dealt with the loss of someone they love. They will be able to understand what you are going through and resonate with you.
Take your time
This is possibly the most important part of dealing with the loss of someone you love. Everyone deals with grief in a different manner. Someone telling you to get over it is not going to help you actually get over it. Grief takes time to heal.
Spend your time doing the things which you love. Do not let others dictate your grieving process. Spending two weeks of time crying with your dog is normal. However, if you start to feel that you don’t deserve to live and that you should end your life, you should consult a counsellor, since your grief might have taken a destructive route.
Honor the loss of someone you loved
Honor the person you have lost. Visit their graves, talk to others about them, donate to a charity they loved, do something in their honor. This will help you get closure and deal with grief. Running away from your pain will not help in such circumstances.
Eat the delicacies they loved
Indulging in the dishes your loved one enjoyed can be a way to make you feel closer to the person you have lost. They may bring back old memories and make you nostalgic but this is another way to honor that person and deal with grief.
It is okay to isolate – at the beginning
It is okay to isolate yourself from others for a while. You can choose to stay at home, go through old videos, read trashy novels, cry about your loss, binge watch movies etc. It is completely okay. However, do not keep yourself in isolation for too long. Try to spend time with others who loved that person as well. They will understand what you are going through and even support you.
Go on a trip
Sometimes guilt and grief can cripple you to the point that you don’t even feel like leaving the house. However, going on a trip might be a huge help to you to deal with grief. Something as simple as going on a road trip or a camping trip alone or with friends can be a huge help towards a better mental health. Go to a place that is close by or to a foreign country. You have the whole world to look forward to. The experience of being out of your home will help take you mind off things.
Do not indulge in destructive behavior
A glass of wine every now and then can help you relax. However, if you start to drink to numb your pain, it will not help you cope in the long run. Eventually you will realize that you have landed up replacing your grief with something much more dangerous and hard to get rid of, addiction.
Focus on staying active
Staying active is possibly the best way to deal with grief and the loss of someone you love. Indulging in exercises like walking, running, yoga, cycling etc. can not only provide a boost to your body but also to your grieving mind. Try to indulge in mindfulness exercises if you can.
Try out something new
After you have spent some time dealing with the loss of someone you love, explore some new hobbies. Take on a volunteering project, start painting, sculpting, doodling, anything that you enjoy, learn a new language, go on a baking spree, repaint your home etc.
Honor the things you have learned from the person you lost
Their are always good things to learn from everyone you meet. Pick up the traits you loved of the person you lost and incorporate them in your life. It could be mastering a soup recipe they made so well, loving unconditionally, caring for animals etc. If you had a bucket list you shared with the person you loved, work on fulfilling the remaining items on the bucket list.
Provide yourself comfort
Do whatever brings you comfort except for indulging in substance abuse. Light a candle, visit a church, temple, write bad poetry etc. Do whatever makes you feel better. No action is silly or too small.
Spread the love you feel
Share your love with those who need and deserve it. Get an animal companion, spend time with friends, family or join a volunteer program. You will feel better and again realize that you still have love to share with others.
If the pain is too much or destructive, seek help
If you have been grieving for a long time or if you feel like your grief is heading down a self destructive path, it is time to consult a psychotherapist or grief counsellor. A grief counsellor is trained to help you navigate through your grief and heal in a positive manner.
Now you know 16 strategies of how you can deal with the loss of someone you love. Which of these strategies do you feel with help you cope the most? Have you ever dealt with the loss of someone you loved dearly? How did you cope through that and get back to normal life? Mention your experiences in the comment section and share it with all of us.
If you have any queries pertaining to this blog post or any other, feel free to reach out to me on any of my social media channels or write your queries in the comment section. I will be happy to help you
anyway I can.
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Frequently asked questions
What to do when you lose a person you love?
Start with honoring the person you loved and lost. Visit their graves, spend time talking about them to others, frame their photos, spend time in a park they love, donate to a a charity they held dear etc. Such activities will not only help you honor the person you love, it will also help you deal with grief and heal.
How to make peace with the death of a loved one?
Loss of a loved one is hard. There are some techniques which may help you to make peace with the death of a loved one:
- Understand that every grief is unique
- Do not put out your grief.
- Honor the things you have learned from the person you loved
- Take care of yourself
- Spread the love you recorded
- Isolation is okay but for a short while
- Work on providing yourself some comfort
- Try out a new hobby
You can also try out the techniques mentioned above.
When you lose someone you love you get hit by a barrage of emotions. There is pain, anger, depression, guilt, regret etc. The person goes through a mental, emotional and physical breakdown which needs some time to recover.