Living with Loss
The process of grieving does not have a time limit and there is no one ‘right’ way to grieve. It is important to find healthy ways to cope with the pain of loss, and know these strategies can change over time.
Ways to help you cope and manage grief and loss
People cope with grief in different ways just like everyone expresses grief in their own way. Some techniques for coping may work for you and others may not. You may find that how you cope also changes over time. Most importantly, you need to give yourself the space and time each day to grieve.
Some techniques include a quiet space where you are alone and others include family members and friends. Sometimes you may need even more support. A visit to a healthcare professional is also a great option. See the Get Support section for more information. You may never get over a loss completely, but you will start to feel better over time. You will learn to cope and grief will not be so all consuming. And remember that grief does not follow a straight line, where you grieve and then it is over. You may start to feel better and then something will remind you of your loss and you may have more upsetting feelings again. This is normal and may happen a few times before the grieving becomes small enough to intrude less on your life.
Here are some tips and techniques that may help you cope with your grief.
- Give yourself the space and time.
- Connect with caring and supportive people. Let yourself receive hugs if you are comfortable with that (connection softens grief).
- Let yourself feel what you are feeling and be honest with yourself and others about those feelings.
- Take care of yourself (self-care); eat well, get enough sleep and exercise, spend time with family and friends.
- Reach out for help. Grieving can be lonely and you are not alone!
- Let yourself cry, if you can.
- Let yourself remember funny times and laugh.
- Keep a journal.
- Put together a photo-book or collage.
- Make a memory box with pictures and mementos.
- Take part in prayer, a healing circle or other faith based rituals.
- Attend the funeral or celebration of life, or create your own special ritual to honour the person’s memory. For example, visit a place they loved or do something that was important to them.
- Talk to someone you trust.
- Talk to someone who has had a similar loss (a family member, friend or support group).
- Light a candle in memory of the person on a special day (birthday, holidays or anniversary).
If you do not take the time or the space to grieve, it can lead to depression and stop you from moving forward in life. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. You don’t ever truly ‘get over it’, but the loss is something that you can come to terms with over time and accept. Many people are surprised that as they start to feel better a feeling of guilt can creep in. It’s important to give yourself permission to feel better. That doesn’t mean you are forgetting the loss, but that you are accepting it. It is okay to move forward and find happiness again. Most people find that the times they feel sad and the strength of their sad feelings will lessen over time.
Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.