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How to Cope with Loss and Pain

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Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging experiences in life. The grief you feel after a loss can be intense and all-consuming, but it doesn’t last forever. Here is how to cope up with the loss and pain.

Be patient with yourself—your pain is valid, but it will start to subside. 

Although it might not feel like it now, your experience of grief and your relationship to loss will evolve. There’s no “right” way to deal with it (everyone has their own journey), but there are a few pointers to process emotions in a healthy way. 

Express Your Pain 

Sometimes, after loss, we feel the need to put on a brave face. We might even feel like a burden to others if we say too much or give in to the vulnerability. 

But letting your feelings out is one of the healthiest ways to process strong emotions. 

Cry if you need to or laugh at happy memories. Everything you’re feeling is valid, and expressing your emotions contributes to the healing process. 

It’s also okay if you feel numb. Sometimes it takes months (or longer) to fully process trauma, so don’t worry if you haven’t cried. Be gentle with yourself, try to rest, and let go of expectations of what your grief “should” look like. 

Surround Yourself with Caring Loved Ones

No one can process your emotions for you, but they can go through their own journey alongside yours. Surround yourself with friends and family who are genuinely there for you and have your best interests at heart (even if that includes the tiniest bit of tough love in the form of motivation and encouragement). 

Here are a few ways to share grief with others:

  • Have a memorial service – Celebrate the life of your loved one. When you gather together with family and friends to honor your loved one’s memory, you participate in a shared experience of grief. Include personal touches. Choose your loved one’s favorite blooms for funeral flowers, or play their favorite songs during the service. 
  • Ask for photos – Ask friends and family to send their favorite photos along with anecdotes about the person you lost. It’s wonderful to hear the fond memories. 
  • Reach out to talk – Whether you take a long walk or call them on the phone, don’t hesitate to confide in your friends and family. It’s healthy to let them know what’s going on. Just make sure you get their permission before fully unloading on them—you never know what they might be processing themselves. 

Save Reminders of Your Loved One

Initially, it may be painful to look at pictures and mementos. Still, you’ll regret it down the line if you throw out beautiful photographs and tokens of your relationship because of temporary heartache. 

Display a photo of them in a prominent place so you can remember the good when you see their face. If they had any special treasures they passed on to you (like an old clock or pair of earrings), find a way to display or use these items in your life. This way, you’ll think of them every time you hear the clock chime or put on your Sunday Best. 

Seek Professional Help 

Your friends and family will always be there for you, but it’s not necessarily healthy or fair to pass your emotional baggage off to them, especially if they’re not in the right headspace to receive it. In that case, it can help to talk to a professional therapist as well, or even instead of. 

Seek Professional Help 

Your friends and family will always be there for you, but it’s not necessarily healthy or fair to pass your emotional baggage off to them, especially if they’re not in the right headspace to receive it. In that case, it can help to talk to a professional therapist as well, or even instead of. 

Here are a few reasons to seek professional help:

  • Gain a new perspective – It’s helpful to hear fresh insight from an outside party. They won’t negate your personal lived experience, but they can identify unhealthy patterns in how you Cope up with the Loss and offer insight into your grieving process. 
  • Develop new strategies – In addition to identifying and processing emotions, a therapist will help you develop strategies to cope with strong feelings. 

Seeking professional help is a healthy and normal way to Cope up with the Loss. Remember, you’re not alone, and it’s all part of the path towards healing. 

Grief is Like the Weather 

Just like thunderclouds rolling in on a sunny day, feelings of grief can come and go. There is no linear way to process loss, so let go of the narrative that grief has specific checkpoints and stages. Instead, understand that it’s okay for your feelings to ebb and flow—even if that includes sudden or inexplicable joy. You’re allowed that.