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Tombstone with heart on graveyard

Individuals and families are experiencing great challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Separation from colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family while sheltering in place or social distancing has created both emotional and psychological turmoil. One of the greatest challenges, however, is losing a loved one. Although it is never easy to lose a loved one, not being able to be there physically due to COVID-19 restrictions makes it even more difficult.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of people have died as a result of COVID-19. While loss is a natural part of life, losing someone unexpectedly can cause intense grief and trigger feelings of sadness, anger, denial, and confusion. That’s why knowing how to cope with loss is important.

The following are strategies that can be used to cope with loss.

Acknowledge Your feelings

It is natural to feel sadness, anger, fear, confusion, and disbelief at the loss of a loved one. Don’t try to mask, avoid, or stifle your feelings. Acknowledging how you feel will help you deal with loss.

Express your feelings to others. Talk with friends and family members about how you are feeling. Also, express everything you feel in writing or through another creative project. These suggestions can lead to healing and help prevent depression.

Take Care of Yourself

As you grieve the loss of a loved one, don’t forget about your physical health. Be sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you will have more energy, less stress, and better coping skills. Also, avoid the use of alcohol and drugs.

Reach Out to Others

Loss can cause you to withdraw from family, friends, and the things you love to do. Don’t pull away from the people who care about you. Allow them to help you.

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed. Talk to a mental health professional when your grief is overwhelming. You can also join a support group. It can help to hear others, not just family or friends, with similar experiences. Reaching out to others can also improve your psychological well-being.

Be Patient with Yourself

The reality is that it takes time to grieve the loss of a loved one. For some, it may take months, and for others, it may take longer. Be patient with yourself as you work through your loss. Keep in mind that accepting the loss of a loved one does not mean forgetting them. Although living life may seem impossible, you will not feel this way forever.

Get Back into the Routine of Things

Although it may be difficult, make attempts to do activities you enjoy such as bowling, sewing, and gardening. Maintaining hobbies and interests will help take your mind off your loss. Plan activities around the time when you are most likely to remember your loved one.

Prepare for Grief Reminders

Smells, sounds, and occasions will trigger grief. This is normal and part of the healing process. Knowing specific grief triggers will help you to cope. When this happens, don’t focus on the loss. Instead, try focusing on happy memories you shared with your loved one.

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