If someone close to you has passed, you’re probably experiencing a profound loss. This grief is complex and can linger long after your loved one is gone. Learning how to deal with grief in a healthy way can help you honor them, find closure, and discover how to enjoy life again.
There are many different ways to grieve, and no one can tell you what’s right for you. We’ll go over several healthy coping mechanisms for grief that may be able to help you through these hard times.
What is considered healthy grief?
When moving through grief you may experience shock, denial, guilt, anger, and depression. Healthy grief isn’t easy, but it does involve progress. All of these emotions are progress toward acceptance and moving past the loss. Grief becomes unhealthy when progress stops.
When you use healthy coping skills for grief, the intensity of your emotions will gradually decrease until you’re able to manage your feelings when you think of your loved one — and perhaps even feel grateful for the time you had together.
4 healthy ways to deal with grief and loss
If you feel “stuck” at any of the stages of grief and unable to move on, it’s time to consider how to deal with grief in a healthy way. Here are 4 strategies for healthy grieving.
1. Accept your emotions
Grief can come with a variety of emotions — and some may be unexpected, like anxiety, fear, and even anger. No matter what you’re feeling, don’t bury it. Embrace it and express it. Set aside time each day to write in a journal about your feelings and memories, both good and bad. Listen to music that your loved one enjoyed, talk to friends, and look at photographs to process your emotions.
2. Give yourself time
There is no set amount of time that grief “should” take. In fact, you may never get over a major loss, in the sense that you will always feel sadness and regret when you think of your loved one. You cannot rush the grieving process — everyone is different. If you feel like you’re not making progress toward managing your grief, that is a sign to seek professional help.
3. Seek support
Many people need extra support when they’re learning how to deal with grief in a healthy way. This can mean seeing a professional counselor, joining a support group, or talking to friends and family. Opening your sympathy cards can also be helpful. Many people will share memories of your loved one that can be helpful during the grieving process.
4. Take care of yourself
When you’re grieving, even getting out of bed can be difficult — and taking care of yourself is often the last thing on your mind. Yet healthy ways to cope with grief aren’t just about processing your emotions. They’re about taking the actions you need to take, even if you feel like you’re just going through the motions. So take a shower, get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy food, and go for a walk outside. When you stay healthy, your brain has the fuel it needs to deal with grief properly.
Grief is never easy. It’s a process, and it isn’t the same for everyone. With the right healthy coping mechanisms for grief, you can make progress each day and once again find a sense of normalcy and even enjoyment — which is what your loved one would want for you.