Coping with Grief – Professional & Personal Advice from a Therapist
By: Caitlyn Marr, AMFT
Grief is an inevitable part of our lives that is often considered taboo to discuss. At some point in our life, we will all be impacted by grief. Whether the impact is indirectly, a friend of a friend, or a tragedy seen on national news; or directly impacted, for example the death of your husband, sister or father figure. While we all will experience grief at one point or another, ironically, grief can feel very lonely and isolating. This is often believed because grief and death effects every single person uniquely. However, know you are not alone. Nor do you have to go through this unimagine time in your life alone. One’s feelings and thoughts associated with grief can be very challenging and difficult to express and process. More often than not, you may feel misunderstood and unheard, or that your emotions do not make sense. It is extremely important to take care of yourself during this time. It is encouraged to use these coping mechanisms during your own time of grief to better help your wellbeing.
· Write a letter to your loved one who has passed
· Keep personal items of the loved one who passed to help remind you of them
· Partake in the 5 senses to evoke memories (such as smelling a perfume or cologne they wore, eating a food item you associate with the one whom has passed, or touch clothing items they often wore)
· Find a bereavement or grief support group.
· Read a support book or work book on grief
· Talk about past experiences and memories of person who has passed with others in your support system
· If you practice a faith, attend and partake in spiritual/religious ceremonies.
· Practice mindfulness such as meditation, deep breathing, and gratitude journaling
· Stay consistent with meeting your basic needs: Drinking water, eating, exercising, proper hygiene, socializing, and good sleep.
· Work with a therapist to process these complicated feelings
As a therapist and an individual who has experienced grief in her own life, I found these coping mechanisms to be very helpful. I strongly encourage you to first and foremost find and work with a therapist you trust. With this therapist, in combination of on your own time, you can try these different coping mechanisms to better help with your grief. Remember, you are not alone.