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How to Cope with Grief: 7 Ways to Manage Grief After Loss

Coping with Grief

August 17, 2022

Amy Mauro

As good as life can be at times, especially with the help of routine therapy and mental health treatment, there is an unfortunate truth in life that we will all have to face at one point or another: the loss of a loved one. No matter how strong we are, losing a loved one to death, divorce or breakup, moving away, or any number of things, the grieving process can break us down time and time again, which is why grief counseling is so important.

We often hear about the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, it’s important to note that these are not backed by science in any way, and have often been criticized by the psychology community as being overly simplistic and reductive of the actual grieving process. The real process is not one size fits all. It changes between each person and is not typically linear or chronological. Often, we go back and forth through different emotions for a long time after losing someone we love, and we cannot emphasize enough that it’s okay to go backwards every now and then. It’s also fairly inevitable. Therapy and counseling can help us to manage our emotions better, but it isn’t always completely possible. During those times, therapy is even more useful because it shows us how we can cope with those emotions and express them and deal with them in a more mature, sustainable, and healthy way.

The best way to manage grief after losing a loved one or whatever hardships you may be going through is to find a therapist or grief counselor near you. Handel Behavioral Health has offices all over Massachusetts, including Amherst, Franklin, West Springfield, and Wilbraham Massachusetts. Additionally, we offer online counseling options if that better suits your needs. Reach out to one of our many experienced grief counselors today and start your healing process.

In this article we’ll discuss:

  • What is grief?
  • 7 ways to manage grief after loss
  • Finding a grief counselor in Massachusetts

What Is Grief?

Grief is a broad term that describes the natural reaction of the body and mind after experiencing any kind of loss in your life- most typically, the death of a family member or friend. The emotional pain we feel can manifest itself in a number of ways such as loneliness, extreme sadness, shock, anxiety, and regret. Grief is not a specific feeling or emotion, but rather a combination of many that can result in serious harm to our mental health and physical health. These feelings are normal, but when they become too much to bear, it’s time to seek help from a professional. Grief is a very real occurence and cannot be avoided simply by “being strong” or ignoring how you feel. Grief is natural and expected, so you should never feel ashamed of experiencing it or embarrassed to talk about it with someone close to you or a trained professional.

7 Ways to Manage Grief After Loss

Though grief is universal, it is also treatable and manageable with the right help and guidance, which is why we’ve put together this list explaining how to cope with grief.

  1. Take time to reflect
    Taking time to grieve the right way is the first major step in moving on. Try to avoid drinking too much and falling into unhealthy habits to try to avoid what’s really troubling you. Think back on your time with who you lost and what they meant to you. Write your thoughts down in a journal if you feel inclined. Whatever you may choose to do, reflect on your emotions and don’t rush into anything.
  2. Talk to someone close to you
    During grief and loss, it’s easy to feel alone in the world because of the burden of so many emotions experienced seemingly at once. During these times, remember that you never have to go through these struggles by yourself. Turn to your friends and family for support and get the weight off your shoulders. Even if you don’t have a particularly close support network, there are dozens and dozens of grief support groups and other similar services available in most communities and online from anywhere in the world.
  3. Find ways to stay connected to the one you lost
    One of the worst feelings we experience during loss is that we’ve lost a tremendous connection in our lives. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Reflect on some of the reasons that made you so close to begin with. Maybe it was a mutual love for a sport or music artist. Maybe it was watching a certain show every Thursday night or just going to your favorite restaurant. Whatever it may be, continue to seek these little joys out during and after your grieving. At first, it might be difficult to enjoy them with the reminder of your loss, but eventually, you’ll find it brings you tremendous joy and nostalgia for those wonderful moments you shared. 
  4. Plan a distraction or find a hobby
    When nothing else seems to work, find something that can easily distract you from the pain. This is not to say you should ignore or suppress your emotions, but sometimes it’s healthy to take a break and get lost in a book or new hobby.
  5. Exercise regularly and eat healthy
    Grief often feels like an ending of sorts, but in many ways we can choose to view it as a new beginning. Sitting around alone in your house will likely lead to some harmful habits if you let it. Make time to exercise every day and eat healthy as much as you can. Physical health plays a large role in mental health, so maintaining or improving our physical health is a great way to achieve progress. Also, a friendly reminder: drinking alcohol to forget or ignore the pain will only make things worse when you’re finally forced to confront yourself so try to keep the booze to a minimum during your healing.
  6. Focus on self-care
    Again, try to avoid “the sauce” (alcohol) during grief. But beyond the simple things, make a serious effort to prioritize how you take care of yourself. Treating yourself to a spa day every now and then is a great example. On a more daily basis, never underestimate the power of a nice shower and skincare routine. You’ll be surprised at how well you feel when you take care of yourself. Meditation is also a great activity to add to your daily routine to allow yourself time to both reflect and clear your head of any doubts and worries.
  7. Talk to a professional therapist or grief counselor
    Yes, we’ve said it about a dozen times already, but even that isn’t enough. When you’re going through grief and loss, seeking help from a medical professional is always the best option to pursue. A therapist, psychiatrist, and certainly, a specialized grief counselor will be able to help you talk through your issues and find healthy and sustainable coping mechanisms for dealing with loss and managing grief. Handel Behavioral Health has offices and grief counselors across Massachusetts and also offers online therapy services for grief management. 

Remember that there are other ways to manage and cope with grief after losing a loved one, and that the process is not one size fits all. Everyone recovers at their own pace, and these should be treated as first steps. The best way to overcome these struggles is to find a therapist or grief counselor.

Finding a Grief Counselor in Massachusetts

Serving the entire state of Massachusetts with offices in Amherst, Franklin, West Springfield, and Wilbraham Massachusetts, Handel Behavioral Health now also provides teletherapy grief counseling services. Talking to a trained and experienced professional is the best way to cope with grief after experiencing loss. Contact us today to speak to a therapist or grief counselor and begin your healing journey.