Tips for Managing Grief, Sadness, and Loss

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What Is Grief?

Grief refers to the sadness and range of feelings and thoughts connected to losing something we value. The first thing to know about grief is that it can show up in many forms, and everyone deals with grief differently. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the sudden changes and losses – however you feel is okay.

What Does Grief Look Like?

  • Feeling numb.
  • Feeling overwhelmed in a way that can cause both physical and emotional discomfort.
  • Feelings of intense sadness, anger, denial, and shock.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Poor concentration.

These are a normal part of the grief process and may show up differently or fluctuate throughout the day.

The Five Stages of Grief

  1. Denial: The event is questioned, considered a mistake, or minimized. (i.e., the virus won’t affect us.)
  2. Anger: Feelings of anger arise. It is common to blame or ask, “why?” (i.e., the virus is making me miss plans and social connections.)
  3. Bargaining: Attempts at negotiation to improve the situation. (i.e., If I do social distancing and quarantine for a few weeks, it will get better.)
  4. Depression/Sadness: Loss of motivation occurs and a sense of mourning begins. (i.e., I don’t know when this will end or get better.)
  5. Acceptance: Though difficult, loss is accepted or understood. (i.e., This is happening and I have to find ways to maintain my day-to-day.)

Tips for Managing Grief and Loss

  • Acknowledge all your emotions. It is normal and okay to handle a range of feelings.
  • Know that your experience is unique to you and that everyone deals with grief differently.
  • Connect with those you love and trust as often as possible through phone calls, texts, Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, or Zoom.
  • Remember that you are not alone.
  • Connect with nature. Go for a walk, feel the sun, get fresh air, place plants in an area you sit most often. Or sit by an open window to feel the fresh breeze.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy such as art, writing, journaling, watching a movie or show, reading, talking with a friend, or cooking.
  • Look after your physical health to support your mental health. Exercise and eat nutritious meals when possible.
  • Set a consistent sleep routine and get plenty of rest.
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to soothe the nervous system.
  • Grief has no timeline; be gentle and kind to yourself.