Guest writer Trevor returns this week with tips for those who are navigating their “new normal.” Trevor lost a friend to suicide following their shared addiction recovery journey and previously wrote about what the loss taught him. Through his personal experience and learnings, he has made it his mission to help others find ways to cope with their grief.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Grief
Loss of any kind is devastating, and moving forward from it will be the hardest part of the grief journey. While each person experiences grief differently, the most important thing to remember is that during this vulnerable and difficult time, a person’s coping mechanisms can become unintentionally destructive. For example, numbing emotions with “one glass of wine” can turn into four glasses, and spiral into an addiction. Survivors may also become too overwhelmed with emotions and feel severely depressed and could feel that inflicting self-harm is the only method to eradicate or validate the pain.
Therefore, it’s imperative to implement healthy coping mechanisms and outlets that will encourage healing during the grieving process.
Whether that be with a therapist, friends, family, or a support group that shares your same experiences, being able to communicate your emotions with another person is an incredible way to get a huge weight off your chest. Sometimes, the most therapeutic mechanism is allowing yourself to be supported and listened to by people who care about you. Alternatively, even free writing into a journal can help you release a brain dump of words that otherwise wouldn’t have made sense articulating aloud.
Partake in a hobby
While it’s completely understandable that you may not have any motivation to participate in your passions and hobbies, you shouldn’t abandon them by any means. Hobbies are outlets that can help you feel happy and fulfilled. While you have every right to feel frustrated, angry, and sad – it’s important to remember that without sustaining your own personal happiness, you can never properly decompress from moments of high stress or emotion.
One of the most common symptoms of grief is developing depression. Exercise can combat this symptom by maintaining the production of endorphins and dopamine in the body. Without these necessary chemicals, we are more susceptible to sinking into depressive episodes and cannot uplift ourselves from overwhelming emotions nor ease the feelings of emotional and physical pain. While our mental health ultimately takes a toll from grief, we tend to forget that the well-being of our bodies need just as much attention and care as well.
Invest time into self-care
When you take the time to cry or reflect back on memories of a person, it’s easy to let your self-care slip. Through the tears and seemingly endless episodes of sadness – the last thing we all want to think about is eating three substantial meals a day, taking a shower, or putting on clothes that make us feel our best. No one is alone in that. However, self-care is vital to overcoming the grieving process because neglecting it can magnify grief and make us feel worse.
In conclusion, grieving the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to experience. While the grief may feel like it lasts forever, we must remember that it is temporary, and we will truly and ultimately move forward one day, but most importantly: never forget the people we love in our hearts.