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Coping with Grief and Loss
Losing someone close to you is life changing and overwhelming. These tips are about coping with grief and loss.
Sometimes when we're experiencing a loss we may bottle up our feelings associated with it. It's okay to talk about your feelings, this can help in the grieving process. There are many ways to share - this may be with a friend, helpline, professional, or support group.
Any loss can lead to grief whether it's a death, the end of a friendship, moving away, changing schools, etc. It depends what's important to you. All losses can be significant and life changing!
Everyone deals with grief differently, there is no right way to grieve. Do what feels best for you - we just hope it involves taking care of yourself!
Sometimes while grieving we may choose to use unhealthy coping methods to reduce the pain we feel. Here are some alternative methods you can use to help you process your grief, Deep Relaxation Techniques.
When someone we care about passes away we may experience a range of emotions. You may even experience a sense of relief, especially if they were in pain prior to passing. This is a gentle reminder that it's okay to feel whatever emotion that comes up.
When a friend is experiencing grief we might not know how to support them. Ask what kind of support they feel they need. Sometimes they might not know and that is okay. Just reminding them you care can make all the difference.
Experiencing loss can be extremely difficult, it's okay to take time to heal. Adjusting to a life without that person or thing is a process and trying to rush it won't be helpful for your healing in the long-term.
Try to keep up your routine if you are experiencing grief. Sometimes what you need is a distraction to help you get through the day to day. At the same time, show yourself grace if you're struggling to keep up with your routine while grieving.
Everyone grieves at their own pace, which can be impacted by a variety of factors, so don't feel bad if you are struggling longer than you feel you "should". Give yourself the time you need.
There are many ways to work towards healing from your loss. Take some time to reflect on what feels best for you. This may include going to counselling, writing a letter to the person you lost, or volunteering your time to a cause that was important to that person.
It can feel hopeless to think about experiencing this grief for the rest of your life. While most people will grieve in some way forever, their life will often begin to grow around it. For more on this, look up Lois Tonkin's model of growing around grief.
Helping others can often help us feel good in return. You can find some ways to give back to your community by checking out this great resource: youth.volunteer.ca.
There may be heavy reminders of your loss at times like holidays, anniversaries, or milestones. When grieving a death, some find it helpful to reflect on happy memories & photos with that person. However it's also very important to give yourself permission to feel down.
For others, holidays or other meaningful days after loss may be a time to start new traditions. You could go to a new place, eat different food, or do different activities. It's okay to distract yourself from the pain sometimes and to try and find some comfort.
The feelings associated with grief and loss can be really overwhelming at times. If you don't feel ready to talk about your loss with other people, it may be helpful to try journaling. It can help you feel a sense of release, rather than keeping it bottled up.
When we're longing to feel connected to someone we love who has died, eating their favourite foods, going to their favourite places, doing their favourite activities, watching their favourite shows, etc., can help us to feel close to them.
Humour can be a powerful force. Give yourself permission to laugh and find moments of joy - your loved one would likely want you to! Take time to watch your favourite funny TV show, movie, comedy sketch, youtuber, etc.
Grief can feel numbing at times. Try stimulating your senses by engaging in some physical movement - even better if you do so while taking in nature. Doing things for your physical health often helps your mental health too.
Consider starting a new hobby! It might be a helpful distraction while also helping you to develop new skills and feel pride in a new activity.
If you're grieving a death and you like to write, try writing stories with aspects of your loved one sprinkled throughout. This can be a creative way to help you keep their memory alive, and the process itself can also be healing.
Setting specific and manageable goals for ourselves can be helpful for many reasons, but after a loss it's important to consider your grief when doing so. This article, Four Tips for Goal-Setting After a Loss, provides some great insights.
It can be comforting to connect with people who've also experienced a difficult loss. If you're open to it, look into support group options, or reach out to someone you know of who might relate. Make sure to ask first if they're open to talking about grief & loss.
Looking for a helpful online resource all about grief? Check out WhatsYourGrief.com for info on coping with grief, how to help others who are grieving, blogs, a podcast and more.
When grieving the death of a loved one, it can feel nice to celebrate them. One example could be baking a cake in their memory and sharing it with others who love them. There are many ways, so try to involve something you like to do or that you think they'd appreciate.
mygrief.ca has several modules that can help you learn about your grief and begin to try and process it, all at your own pace. Another great thing about the modules is that they were made by grief specialists as well as people with lived experience with grief.
Looking to read a book or two on grief and loss? DinnerPartiers has a great list of books on this subject with categories from climate change grief to non-colonial perspectives on loss. https://bookshop.org/shop/thedinnerpartyreads #mymTips
Bereaved Families of Ontario started as a support for families who had lost a child, but now their 11 locations throughout the province offer a range of free peer support programs for people of all ages and losses.
Many people may not understand your grief and its impact on you, especially during the holidays when there's an expectation to be joyful and festive. Just know that it is completely valid to not feel that way and it doesn't make you ungrateful, it makes you human.
Is someone you care about experiencing grief? A lot of times our default might be to try and cheer them up. Watch this video from @refugeingrief that shares why that's often not what a person needs, and advice to better support them.
Just because someone appears "fine" doesn't mean they aren't really struggling with their loss. How a person grieves can depend on personality, life experiences, age, culture, circumstances around the loss & more. Someone's grief is valid regardless of how it presents.
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the wellness section on our website next month to see the set posted in full.