Coping With Grief

Some suggestions to help you cope with the loss of a loved one.

How can you, as a caregiver help yourself to cope with loss? First, you must recognize the four steps to coping as a normal pattern that everyone who grieves goes through. In addition, remember that you are not alone. Because death is a part of everyday life, everyone grieves and copes in his or her own way. Generally, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself in this process.

  1. Do not hurry yourself and do not let others hurry you. Regardless of what others advise, you are not going to “just get over it.”
  2. Learn to ask for and use the support of others. Recognize that other individuals can’t read your mind and learn to ask them directly for a specific type of support. One of the most important types of support that you should look for is someone who can listen in a nonjudgmental manner.
  3. If you need professional help, do not hesitate to get some. Help can be obtained from psychologists, psychiatrists, clergy, social workers, counselors, and grief therapists.
  4. Understand that it will be hard at times. Specifically, holidays, a certain time of day, or a normal activity may remind you of your loss. Plan ahead for these experiences.
  5. Do not bottle up your feelings. Instead, recognize that it is okay to be having such feelings and express them. Expressing your feelings often involves talking about them, although if this makes you too uncomfortable, try something physical like hitting a pillow or something thoughtful like keeping a journal.
  6. Take care of yourself physically by eating well, sleeping, getting regular exercise, and continuing to visit the doctor.
  7. Avoid depending on any kind of drug such as alcohol, mild sedatives, or tranquilizers. While the latter two may provide you with relief initially, dependence on such drugs will only cause you to grieve for a longer amount of time.
  8. Do not forget about your own daily routine, activities that are meaningful to you, or about doing things for others. Feelings of self -worth and control stem from these things and these feelings are important when you are coping with a loss.
  9. Do not make major decisions during the grieving period. The emotions you experience during this period may influence your decisions in ways you will later regret.

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