How to Cope with Loss

How to Cope with Loss

Losing a loved one, whether it is a family member, friend, spouse, or even pet, is truly never an easy thing to go through and something that no one is ever fully prepared to deal with. Feelings of loss can arise after a breakup or when going through dramatic and unforeseen life changes, as well. Loss is one of the unfortunate aspects that we are met with in life and coping with that loss is something that looks different for each individual. While no set of coping mechanisms will work for everyone, there are some general practices that are good for everyone to consider applying if they find themselves in this position. If you are in a really rough place after losing someone, meeting with a mental health professional is one of the best steps you can take to get through the grieving process. Dr. Messina & Associates is the best Southlake, TX psychiatrist team to assist anyone in working through grief and anything else that may be going on. Let’s go ahead and talk about some of the practices that are ideal for coping with loss.

 

Give Yourself Space to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do if you are grieving the loss of someone is to make sure you actually give yourself ample time and space to grieve in the first place. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and the process is not linear with a set date that everything will suddenly be okay. There is a general outline of what grief often looks like for a lot of individuals, called the 5 stages of grief. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The time that it takes to work through each of these stages depends completely on the individual, and it should be understood by them and the people closest to them that it may take some time. Grief can creep up and hang around when you are not expecting it, which is why it is so vital to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel these feelings. Some people may not even grieve in a way that is visible, and that is completely okay and validated.

 

Reach Out to Others

It is so crucial to reach out to family, friends, support groups, and professionals when you are unsure how to cope with the loss of someone. Losing someone can be a very isolating feeling, and it should not be something that anyone has to go through alone. It is sometimes more difficult for those who are not in your shoes to understand exactly what you are going through, but keeping the company of those that have your best interest in mind and being open about how you are doing can absolutely help when it comes to coping with loss.

If it is possible, make sure to see a trusted mental health professional if you are not fully comfortable or able to talk with family or friends. Getting input and guidance from a therapist can help immensely if you find yourself in this unfortunate place, and even just talking it out and releasing any bottled-up emotions or thoughts to an unbiased party is very therapeutic in and of itself. If therapy is not an accessible option, there are tons of support groups out there for individuals who have lost someone that provide excellent guidance, comfort, and of course, support. Even being around others that are in a similar place as you in life can be healing and can assist in reducing any feelings of isolation that may be occurring.

 

Find an Outlet to Express Yourself

The process of grieving is often a confusing one that can leave an individual feeling lost and unsure about what to do next. Finding an outlet, whether that be a creative one or some other form, is a good way to work through grief and to cope with loss. Many people find comfort in picking up a new hobby such as painting, cooking, or writing. Keeping a journal to document and express what you are going through has been proven to be very beneficial for those in similar situations, as this is a cathartic means of letting go of thoughts that may be weighing you down. Picking up a new active hobby like running or biking might be the best way for you to clear your mind and uplift yourself. Test different things out and see what clicks, because you very well might be surprised at what happens to help. If you and the person you have lost had a specific hobby or a similar interest that you shared, some people happen to discover that continuing to engage in this pastime is therapeutic and allows them to still feel close to them.

 

Take Care of Yourself & Be Patient

Finally, it is imperative to take good care of yourself and give yourself some grace when you are dealing with any type of loss. Coping with the loss of someone may take months or years, so it is important to know that it is okay to not be okay for a while and that you should be patient with yourself. It can be challenging to take care of yourself in a healthy manner when you are grieving, but making the effort to do so will pay off big time. Keeping up with a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated will not only benefit your body but will benefit your mind as well during this trying time. Also, avoiding alcohol and other vices is a good idea during this period, as they will likely just make you feel worse in the long run and make coping even more difficult.

There is no correct way to cope with loss and go through the stages of grieving, but there are some basic tools and exercises that one can implement to make the burden a little lighter. Getting the necessary support and recognizing that the wound may never heal, but will hurt less over time, is essential. While someone you love may be gone, it can help to understand that they will always be an important part of you from the impact they left in your life, and they will continue to be with you forever in the memories you shared together.

 

Getting Help

If you are struggling with loss, please reach out to our team. Dr. Messina & Associates has a team of professionals ready to help you navigate this time in your life and give you the tools to get through it. We offer in-person appointments to patients in our DFW (Southlake) offices, as well as online appointments to patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonio areas. 

 

References

https://www.mhanational.org/bereavement-and-grief

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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