“People kept telling me that life goes on, but for me, that was the saddest part.” These moving words written about grief and loss seem go to the heart of how hard we find it to cope with loss and the change it brings. Losing something or someone from your life starts a process of grief and loss. You may experience a range of emotions including pain and sadness that feel like they will never stop.

What is grief?

Grief is the way that we respond to loss. The most obvious type of grief in our lives come from the death of a loved one, this is perhaps the most intense loss we suffer in our lives.  Yet, it is also true to say that the death of a pet, a significant threat to your health, redundancy or at a significant life event can all lead to significant feelings of grief and demise. Ultimately bereavement and coping with the grief allows us to cope with the loss as we accept and move on with the new direction of our life.

Death is the universal experience that we all deal with in and individual way. We often say we should be strong for others or that if we do not cry we do not feel the loss. These myths and others like them can make the process of grieving harder. Feeling powerless and vulnerable in the face of loss is natural, crying is one response to loss but there are many others equally valid. While everyone goes through the process of grief and loss differently there are steps that many people find helpful to look after themselves at this difficult time.

Practical steps to cope with grief and loss

Do not be afraid to ask for help and support. Time alone may feel like a comfort and wanting to withdraw is a common and natural reaction. Yet sharing your feelings of grief is an important part of the bereavement process. Often we feel that we are imposing or that others will not want to hear our troubles. Often though, friends and loved ones are ready and willing to help support you. This is probably the single best thing you can do for yourself.

You coping with grief and loss is a process which will be unique to you. There is no timetable and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. No one can tell you that you should be “over it”. The process takes time and it is important that you are patient with yourself and allow the process to happen. Accept that there is no timetable. Notice that you will improve in small steps. In other words take small steps to cope as you move forward.

Grief and loss is a draining experience, so try to eat and sleep as well as you can. Look after yourself be careful that you don’t use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Rather acknowledge the feelings and try to express them in a safe way. Perhaps you can express them to someone you trust or you could try writing them down. It can be helpful to get out of the house and do a little exercise or to try a little relaxation. These help to lift your mood.

Don’t make any major life decisions such as moving house or changing job. Coping with grief and loss can interfere with our ability to think clearly and rationally. Postpone big decisions if possible and if you must make them try to talk them through with someone you trust.

In conclusion

With time the feelings of intense pain and sadness ease. Other difficult emotions lesson as you begin to accept your loss and move forward with your life. Yet for some the feelings do not go away or intensify and they have trouble accepting the death even long after it occurred.