Coping with a painful loss brings about some of life’s most challenging moments.
Whether you’re experiencing the death of a loved one, the end of a significant relationship, or the transition to a new stage in life, coping with losses often results in grief.
When you grieve something, you may feel the loss emotionally, mentally, and physically. And while most grief passes with time, there are often lasting symptoms.
There are effective ways to deal with grief, however. Follow these five tips to cope with a painful loss.
1. Acknowledge the Loss and the Grief You Feel
No one wants to wallow in sadness for a day, let alone a lifetime. And similarly, it’s easy to try to force yourself to “move on” after a loss rather than to try to deal with it effectively.
But these are two common strategies that grieving people try to push away their sorrow.
And believe us: ignoring what you’re going through and your feelings will only make things worse down the road.
This is why our first tip to cope with a painful loss is to acknowledge the event and the grief you feel. It is not the same as dwelling on a painful memory.
Instead, remind yourself that something shocking occurred and that it is entirely natural to feel sad about it for a while. Don’t set a time limit on your grief. Allow yourself to process your emotions naturally and to let your more extreme feelings lessen over time.
If you refuse to accept the reality of the loss and run from your feelings, they will find a way to manifest later in life. And this is not something you want to go through.
2. Track and Treat Underlying Symptoms
As you start to cope with a painful loss, you’ll likely notice various issues you may have never experienced before.
Some of the most common issues people suffering a loss experience include:
- Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, digestive issues, and chest pain.
- Mental health disorders, such as depression, OCD, anxiety, and phobias.
- Emotional symptoms, such as irritability, loss of sleep, lack of concentration, excessive worry, and sadness.
While some of these are natural and may heal with time, you should not ignore most of them.
For instance, mental health issues can worsen if left untreated. Be sure to talk to your doctor about feelings of depression and anxiety. They’ll have helpful solutions for you, including prescription antidepressants.
Not thrilled about the thought of pills? Check out this article by Veriheal about how marijuana may alleviate mental illnesses like OCD.
3. Seek Comfort From Loved Ones
No matter what your painful loss entailed, communicating your grief with loved ones is a helpful coping strategy.
At first, you may be less than thrilled about the idea of expressing how you feel following your loss to others. But it will get easier with time.
Sharing how you feel when you’re grieving has a way of lessening the grief. It’s not a super fast process, but you will feel less trapped by your grief as you discuss it over time.
Just keep in mind that while friends and family will likely lend an ear, they may feel uncomfortable given the heady subject. That’s okay! It will be uncomfortable for all parties at first. But it will get easier for all of you.
You’ll start to feel the healing process kicking in. And your loved ones will be delighted you choose them to confide in.
4. Talk to a Grief Counselor
Talking to friends and family will feel wonderful. But at some point, it will also help to speak to a trained specialist.
Counselors and therapists can better empathize with what you’re going through than your loved ones. Plus, they can recommend coping strategies that can make all the difference in your grief recovery.
5. Try to Maintain Your Interests
It’s not easy to care about much after experiencing a painful loss. In fact, your interest in a lot of the things you loved before the episode may wane.
However, it is crucial to try your best to maintain hobbies and activities you’ve always enjoyed. For example, stick with your existing exercise routine or enhance it if need be. Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever.
If you like to paint as a hobby, work at keeping that skill set fresh. In fact, having a creative outlet like painting is a way to work through your grief and come out stronger on the other side.
Painful losses often happen suddenly and without warning.
To help yourself cope, be sure to acknowledge the event, your feelings, and then try these other tips. It won’t be easy at first, but we promise it will get better with time.