Healthy Ways of Dealing With the Death of a Loved One

Published February 25, 2020
comforting friend due to her loss

There is nothing quite like the roller coaster of emotions that can accompany the loss of a loved one. Grief centered feelings tend to ebb and flow, so exploring healthy ways to cope and honor them can be incredibly healing and meaningful for you as you move forward.

Coping With the Death of a Loved One

Coping with the loss of a loved one can feel painful and scary. You may not know where to start when it comes to processing your feelings. There are many tools and exercises you can test out to see which ones work best for your needs.

Join a Support Group

Support groups can be a great way to connect to others who have shared a similar loss. This can be especially important if you feel like you don't have anyone else around who is understanding what you're going through. Support groups normalize your experience, while giving you a safe space to release your emotions, or just listen to others going through a similar process which in it of itself can be healing.

Practice Grief Centered Yoga

Because trauma and emotions are stored in the body, doing a physical, yet relaxing activity like yoga can be very therapeutic. Grief centered yoga are classes specially for those who are in the grieving process. These classes focus on connecting to your body and your emotions. Some may be surprised as to how much can be stored in the body. Having an emotional release or reaction is completely normal in a class like this. Speak with your grief centered yoga instructor to find out a bit more about their particular style before joining just so you are prepared.

Journal or Try Something Creative

Journaling, painting, drawing, writing music, playing music, dancing, throwing pottery, writing/reading grief centered poetry, reading meaningful quotes, or doing anything else creative can be a wonderful way to get your body into motion and release whatever you are feeling. This is a great option for those who don't feel ready to speak about their loved one passing, but still wish to have some sort of emotional release. You can opt to take classes or try any of this at home if you prefer a private experience.

Speak With Supportive Friends

Supportive friends and family members can make such a huge difference during the grieving process. Because grief can feel isolating, feeling loved and cared for can help you stay connected to significant people in your life. Supportive friends and family members also provide a safe space to be yourself, especially during your lowest moments.

Woman consoling crying friend

Create Loving Rituals

Rituals and routines can be a comforting way to move forward while still holding your loved one close to your heart. Create a plan where you give yourself a certain window to grieve or remember and then allow yourself the space to enjoy the rest of your day. During your ritual open up the door to fully feel and remember and then mark the end of your release so you can feel the differentiation. This can mean doing something as simple as lighting a candle, sitting in a certain space, or wearing or holding a certain item. This is an exercise intended for those who have been in the grieving process for some time and are looking for a way to get back into somewhat of a regular routine.

Visit Memory Rich Locations

When you feel ready, typically after the initial shock of the passing, it can be very healing to spend some time at a place that held meaning for the two of you. Taking time to remember special memories can make for a beautiful experience where you can re-connect to the person who passed away.

Have a Special Get Together

When you feel ready to speak openly about the memory of the person who passed away, you can consider inviting some significant people over and sharing some special memories together. You can ask each person to make a certain dish or dessert that reminds you of your loved one. Spend some time sharing memories, enjoying your loved one's favorite dishes, and honoring them.

The Grieving Process

The grieving process is complex, messy, and for some may feel unpredictable. As you move through the grieving process, know that there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. Grief can last for days to years depending on the person, and while the process will vary from person to person, most individuals will move towards feeling healed.

When to Seek Help

Seeing a counselor or therapist can be an incredibly helpful aspect of moving towards healing, while taking the time to honor your loved one. Some individuals feel hesitant to release their emotions and have a fear of the loss of control they may experience. Others may be nervous about experiencing suicidal thoughts, visualizing graphic images, or having thoughts of self-harm. Seeing a counselor or therapist allows you the opportunity to explore fully releasing your emotions in a safe space, with a trained professional who can assist you in finding coping tools that work best for your unique experience.

Being Kind to Yourself

When a loved one passes away, you may feel as if your world has been turned upside down. Taking care of yourself, reaching out for help, and honoring your emotions are healthy steps to take as you remember your loved one.

Healthy Ways of Dealing With the Death of a Loved One