If you have lost a loved one, this question is for you. Is it selfish to expect that time should stop when you are still trying to cope with loss?
Coping with a loss is a very personal experience and the fact that we all grieve differently makes it even more difficult to understand or give advice.
For instance, how do you lose a person so dear, and a few weeks later, you are expected to get back on your feet and catch up with the rest of the world?
How do you lose a colleague and in less than 2 weeks, there is a replacement?
While I am still coping with my closest loss yet after two years (and God I pray it is the last), I catch myself asking a lot of rhetorical questions. Sometimes, the events of that fateful day play in my head, sometimes I feel like I should remain sad, other times, I try to shake myself out of the sour mood it jolts me into.
It is a constant struggle trying to keep you sanity after you have had a major loss, but life is not so considerate. Time will not wait for you, people will go about their business and even your support circle will have to go home at some point.
Bearing this reality in mind, It is important to know some practical strategies that can help you cope with loss.
The aim is not for you to avoid acknowledging your emotion, it is to help you cope and not endanger your health mentally and physically.
Here are 5 Tested Tips to Cope with Loss:
The unimaginable has occurred and it is difficult to believe. You may catch yourself saying things like- This cannot happen to me, it is not true, it must be a dream, etc.
These are the kind of things that come to mind when you are finding it difficult to accept the news that you have lost a loved one.
When you live in constant denial, it becomes difficult to move ahead or find a solution, or heal.
It is hard and painful, but you will have to acknowledge what has happened. Allow yourself to grieve, cry and scream, but always resolve to healthier choices.
2. Gain New Understanding.
The loss of a loved one will change a lot of things in your life. Your frame of mind, routine and lifestyle will be affected. You will also have to gradually come to terms with what your new reality will be.
For instance, if you lose your partner, that means you will have to continue life without that person.
You can cope with loss when you start to gain new understanding of your current situation. What will your future be like after the loss?
Will you have to do all the work alone?
Will you have to run the family alone?
Are there people who can help you?
Will things get worse in the absence of your loved one?
Is there a legacy you have to keep alive?
3. Talk About Your Loss.
There is something therapeutic about being able to talk freely about what hurts you. To cope with loss, try to talk about your loved one, talk about the emotions you feel, the good times, and the fond memories.
Do not shut out the memory you created with them. You remember them because they made an impact in your life and your story will be incomplete without them.
Honor their memory in a special way that reminds people of their impact. Start a project they would have loved to be part of.
4. Consider your Physical and Mental Health.
The Loss of a loved one is one of the quickest ways to be exposed to a mental health illness. It is somewhat traumatic and has the tendency to leave you dealing with depression, seclusion, eating disorder, insomnia e.t.c
Loss is a terrible trigger and even though you cannot easily snap out of a loss, it is necessary to do things that will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health in the future.
Self care is also important at this stage because it caters to your total wellness and leaves you rejuvenated.
5. Seek Support.
After a loss, it is advised not to be alone. Everyone has a different coping method and while some people can get a hold of themselves, others may get involved with harmful habits.
To cope with loss, it is important to have a reliable support network. Get involved in activities that can help you manage the sad moments. Sort your social activities, find a way to express yourself (drawing, writing, singing), reach out to the people that bring positivity your way.
To cope with loss, it is also important that you allow yourself to be taken care of. Do not shut yourself away from help, allow people who understand the situation offer their support.
Sometimes, the support you need is from a doctor or therapist. It is necessary to seek medical assistance when coping is becoming unsuccessful.
If the opportunity is available to you, other coping methods include:
- Traveling/change environment.
- Schedule self-care activities.
If you are currently grieving, remember that you are not alone. Give yourself time to heal, do not force yourself to be happy or remain sad.
The pain never really goes away, acknowledge your emotions and stick with healthier choices. Sending love, light and kind thoughts your way.
Share your thoughts.
How do you cope with loss?
I will love to read from you.