Counseling Center

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The loss of a loved one or important relationships are some of the most painful challenges life will give us. If you are grieving a recent loss, you’ve likely been given advice on how to handle your pain. Although it was well-intentioned, a lot of it was probably unsolicited and maybe unhelpful. Here are some suggestions that you can read on your own terms, if and when you are looking for guidance.

Almost everyone will experience loss at some point. It is important to remember that while others may relate to your pain, your grief is personal and unique. This is a time to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, and part of that means allowing yourself to grieve in a way that is natural to you. Try to avoid judging and comparing your process to others. There is no established timeline for how long your grief should last, nor are there rules about how you should feel and what you should do.

You may have heard of the “five stages of grief” (see link below). You will likely encounter these five stages, but they do not occur linearly. Your grief may include sadness, anger, and anxiety in no particular order and maybe all at the same time. You may also experience joy as you reflect on happy memories, or contentment as you continue to move forward and engage in activities that give your life meaning. Often people will have feelings of guilt when find relief from their grief. It is okay to feel the pain of grief, and it is also okay to enjoy moments when your grief can be put aside.

When you are ready, there are certain activities you may find to be helpful that are listed below.

  • Loss can often bring people together so be open to new relationships that may form as a result of your loss.
  • You may also find opportunities to reconnect with people you’ve grown distant from so try sharing memories of the deceased with people who knew them.
  • Look through pictures that help you to retrieve memories.
  • Being kind to yourself also means taking care of your mind and body through prioritizing consistent sleep and nutrition.
  • Engage in intentional movement and spend time outside.
  • Spend time with friends and family.
  • Avoid using unhelpful behaviors to push your feelings away, like substance use, excessive eating, and “retail therapy.”
  • Look for people who can be with you when you’re hurting without trying to find a cure or give unsolicited advice.
  • Pets are great comfort during this time. 
  • Writing, visual art, music, and other creative activities can provide outlets for expressing thoughts and emotions.
  • You might also consider contacting a local bereavement support group or therapist.

Handouts/Websites

Podcasts/Videos

Books

Applications

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