How to cope with grief
When you lose someone or something important to you, it’s natural to grieve.
People react in different ways. The way that you grieve or the way that grief affects you is shaped by a range of factors, including your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.
Most people experience grief in a number of different stages. Anxiety and helplessness often come first. Anger is also common, including feeling some level of anger at someone who has died. Sadness often comes later. People will move through these different stages of grief at their own pace, some people take longer than others. Some people need the support of a counsellor or a health professional to help the cope with the intensity of grief that they’re experiencing.
Grief eventually passes. It will be painful and it may take a long time, but eventually you will come to terms with your loss, and the intense feelings will subside.
The UK’s National Health Service provides the following advice on how to cope with grief and loss:
- Express yourself. Talking is often a good way to soothe painful emotions. Talking to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor can begin the healing process.
- Allow yourself to feel sad. It’s a healthy part of the grieving process.
- Keep your routine up. Keeping up simple things like walking the dog can help.
- Sleep. Emotional strain can make you very tired. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see your doctor.
- Eat healthily. A healthy, well-balanced diet will help you cope.
- Avoid things that ‘numb’ the pain, such as alcohol. It will make you feel worse once the numbness wears off.
- Go to counselling if it feels right for you - but perhaps not straight away. Counselling may be more useful after a couple of weeks or months. Only you will know when you’re ready.