Losing someone you love and care for deeply can leave you feeling lost, afraid, and trapped. You may feel as though the pain and sadness you are experiencing may never let up. There is no right or wrong reaction to a significant loss as everyone grieves differently. However, there are a number of healthy ways to help you cope with the pain.
This article shares 30 healthy ways to cope with loss and the subsequent pain you may be feeling in the days, months, and even years following a death. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exclusive, nor do all of these methods work for everyone. However, we do hope you find some comfort and support you and your grief journey.
1. Make a list of favorite memories shared with your loved one.
2. Write a letter — The letter can be addressed to anyone (your deceased loved one, a family member, future grandchildren, a religious figure, etc.), and you only need to share with others if you feel comfortable. Writing down your thoughts will help express your emotions in a healthy, productive manner.
4. Cook your favorite meal.
5. Read a book on grief and healing — Some of our suggestions include:
- Living with Loss, One Day at a Time – By Rachel Blythe Kodanaz
- I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One – By Pamela Blair and Brook Noel
- Grieving the Loss of a Loved One – By Kathe Wunnenberg
- Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief – By Martha Whitmore Hickman
6. Keep a record of dreams you have where your deceased loved one is present.
7. Join a bereavement group in which there are other people who have had similar losses.
8. Focus on day to day successes — When a loved one dies, even everyday tasks can seem daunting. Plan a realistic day for yourself, and understand that if all you can accomplish in a day are simple tasks like returning a phone call or going to the grocery store, that is absolutely okay.
10. Lean on family and friends for support.
11. Drink a soothing cup of tea.
12. Celebrate your loved one’s birthday — When milestones like the anniversary of your loved one’s death or their birthday come around, your first instinct may be to try and ignore the importance of the day. Instead, recognize and celebrate the day by baking a cake, inviting over friends and family, and sharing stories and memories of your loved one. This will help keep their memory alive.
13. Create a photo album of favorite pictures of your loved one.
14. Schedule a relaxing massage.
15. Do something to honor your loved one each day.
16. Cry — Don’t be afraid to cry! Cry by yourself. Cry with others. Cry in public or in the comfort of your own home. Crying has been proven to help us heal psychologically, physiologically, and spiritually by helping lower stress, remove toxins, and elevate our mood.
17. Get plenty of sleep.
18. Keep a journal to express emotions after your loss.
19. Watch your favorite TV show or movie.
20. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum — It may be tempting to try to escape the reality of your loss by drinking alcohol in excess. But when you drink to feel better about losing a loved one, you aren’t dealing with the pain, only masking and prolonging grief. Instead, try a productive method of managing grief by considering the next tip on our list.
21. Eat healthily.
22. Make frequent visits to your loved one’s grave, columbarium, or the location where ashes were scattered.
23. Take a deep breath when thoughts of grief begin to take hold.
24. Plant a flower, plant, or garden in your loved one’s honor.
25. Adopt a pet to keep you company — After a loss, the company of a furry friend may help you cope with your grief and mourning, especially if your loss leaves you living alone. However, before adopting a pet, be sure you are emotionally and physically capable of caring for it.
26. Make dinner with your best friend or relative.
27. Start a memorial fund in your loved one’s name.
28. Allow yourself to smile and laugh.
29. Consult professional help when feelings of grief become unmanageable.
30. Forgive yourself — Following a loss, many people may develop feelings of guilt, believing they somehow willed the death or feeling remorseful for not visiting the deceased more in their final days or months. Let these feelings go so you can begin to heal.
Do you have any techniques that help you manage your grief? Share them by commenting below!