Everyone goes through periods of grief in life. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even “losing” a sense of normalcy, it’s something we all have to face.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an influx of grief in our society, causing a variety of losses in people’s lives.
The only way to truly move past grief is to work through it. Whether you’ve experienced it directly before, or you’re just dealing with it for the first time now, there’s no “easy way out.” In fact, denial only makes things worse. That’s why it’s the first stage of grief, and the last is acceptance.
Working through everything in between is where healing begins.
While you can (and should) absolutely rely on your support system during times of grief, supporting yourself is just as important. That might seem easier said than done when you’re struggling, but knowing how to cope and help yourself will allow you to process your loss in healthy, effective ways, so you can keep moving forward.
Let’s cover a few helpful ways to cope during a difficult time.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Your physical and mental well-being are very closely connected. Taking care of your physical health during a difficult time can make a big difference in your mood.
Start by getting enough rest. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider things like meditation before bed. Adopt a “sleep routine” by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
If you’re finding it hard to eat three healthy meals each day, break your meals up into smaller portions, four or five times a day. Even having a few healthy, convenient snacks can boost your mood and energy levels.
Exercise is also incredibly important. You might not feel like getting up and running, and that’s okay. Find a way to move your body that you enjoy. That could include taking a bike ride with your family or signing up for a dance class. Exercise is a natural mood booster and can do wonders for your mental health.
Express Your Feelings
The best way to get through grief is to acknowledge how you’re feeling every step of the way. While it helps to understand the different stages you’ll go through, it’s more important to be aware of how you feel during each one.
Denying your feelings, trying to push them down, or thinking you’re not “normal” for feeling a certain way will always make things worse. No matter what your emotions are, let them come through.
Talk to someone about them, or work through them in a way that lets you express them, rather than hide them. Consider keeping a journal to write down your feelings. Not only is it a great way to get them out in the open, but it can help to look back on how far you’ve come throughout the grieving process.
Just because you want to support yourself during a difficult time doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Leaning on family members and friends is a great start, especially if they’re dealing with the same loss.
But, it can be extremely beneficial to work with a mental health professional. Talking to a therapist or counselor about what you’re feeling can take a lot of the stress away from the grieving process. You can freely express your emotions and learn everyday coping mechanisms to work through them.
If you’re trying to cope with grief, it can feel like a daily battle. Keep these ideas in mind to support yourself, but don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.