9 tips for coping with grief and loss
Grief impacts us all in different ways and at different times in our lives.
It’s common to experience feelings of grief when we lose someone we care about, go through a significant life change, experience a natural disaster or other significant challenge, or think about painful experiences that have affected us or those close to us.
Grief can also come in different forms, including:
- anticipatory grief: when we know that a loss is coming and begin to experience grief before the loss happens
- complicated grief: for example, when we had a difficult relationship with someone who has died, were harmed by them, or where family shame or conflict makes it difficult to talk about the loss
- vicarious grief: when we see something sad, such as on the news, or hear about someone else's grief experience. It might involve someone we don’t know well, or at all but we feel intense sadness for their loss.
Sometimes the death of public figures can trigger difficult feelings about our own grief experiences and losses, and many Australians have experienced this recently. In light of this, we’ve put together some tips for coping with cope with grief and loss, which can be used however and whenever it comes up in your life.
There is no ‘right way’ to grieve, but we hope that these tips will help you to look after yourself during this process. Remember that you don’t have to deal with things on your own, and details of support services are provided below.
It’s unpredictable and may come and go in waves, often in unexpected moments. Take each day as it comes and try not to think too far ahead. There is no set time for grieving.
Try writing down your thoughts each day to help process and understand them.
Talking about your feelings and experiences can help you to process your grief in the long term. It can be hard to get started, but if you feel you need support, find a trusted person to talk to.
These can allow you to share your memories, stories and feelings with people who care for you. They can also be markers for a new phase in your life.
Maintain your set times for eating, exercise and sleep.
Give yourself permission to ‘take a break from grief’ and do something relaxing and enjoyable. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care or aren’t still grieving, just that you’re looking after yourself.
If you regularly exercise, try and keep your usual routine. If you’re not someone who regularly exercises, try starting with just a 10-minute walk around your local area. Research shows that exercise can help with managing grief, loss, anxiety and depression.
Try to eat fruits and vegetables, and avoid relying on caffeine, alcohol or drugs.
Deciding to get help can sometimes be tough, but it’s a brave step in dealing with grief and loss.
Where to get support
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call emergency services now on 000 (triple zero).
For free support, contact:
- Griefline on 1300 845 745
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- SuicideLine Victoria on 1300 651 251
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
- MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
Our counsellors are also available to support you. Find out more and contact us today to make an appointment.
This post does not constitute professional advice. It is for informational purposes only.