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Grief and coping with loss

Losing someone you love can be one of the hardest things to deal with. Especially if you were close to that person.

"Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss—and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be."

Grieving process

There is no right or wrong way to grieve; it is a very personal process. How you grieve is determined by a wide range of things, such as your personality and coping mechanisms, your life experience, your religious beliefs, and the importance of the loss to you.

The grieving process inevitably requires time. There is no "normal" timeframe for grieving; healing develops gradually and cannot be hastened or coerced. In weeks or months, some people start to feel better. For some it may take years. Whatever your level of pain, it's crucial to be kind to yourself and let things take their course.


If you’ve experienced a loss, there are a number of things that will help you as you grieve:

  • be gentle with yourself. Your energy may be low for a while so do not place too many demands on yourself.

  • look after your physical health. You may find you’ve lost your appetite. However, it’s important that you eat healthily. Many people find eating small but frequent meals helpful. It’s also important to try to get some exercise; even a small walk each day can be beneficial.

  • make sure you get enough rest and sleep. This will help you avoid becoming run down or physically ill.

  • seek out support from others who are willing to listen. Talking is important because it helps you express what you’re feeling. Try to find one or two people with whom you can simply be yourself and who’ll allow you to talk when you need to.

  • allow yourself to experience the feelings that come with bereavement, even if they’re difficult. It can be helpful to talk these over with someone you trust. This could be a family member, although it’s important to remember they are grieving too. Sometimes, talking to someone outside the family can be beneficial.

  • don’t rush things. You’re trying to come to terms with a major upheaval in your life. Give yourself permission to take things a bit easier. In general, it’s best to put off making major decisions such as moving home or changing jobs for at least six months to a year. 

Physical and emotional symptoms of grief

These are some of the physical symptoms of grief that you may experience:

  • Normal emotional reactions can include:

    • Temporary loss of interest in things that used to bring joy

    • Numbness, shock, sadness, despair, fear, guilt

    • Decreased confidence and self-esteem

    • Temporary increase in anxiety

    • Sense of loss of control

    • Changes in capacity and ability to deal with stress

    • Less focus at work

    • Changes in interpersonal relationships

If your sadness, anxiety or depression persist for a period of time without relief, or if you experience significant impacts to your ability to function in the world, you may need to seek professional help. Things to be on the lookout for include:

  • Inability to get out of bed

  • Deep sense of hopelessness all the time

  • Listlessness that does not go away

  • Complete lack of joy in things that used to bring you great joy

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Self-isolation

  • Sleep disruption that does not get better over time

  • Inability to work

Ways to cope

Coping with loss is something that's very hard to do. Its okay to be upset, shocked or many other things you may be feeling. 
Its okay to let yourself grieve, be patient with yourself.
Talking to a professional about how you're feeling and getting tips off them can help greatly.
Remember you're never alone and there's always someone there to listen 24/7.

Information on this page is from

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