Some healthy ways to get through the toughest times

Coping with grief

Losing a loved one never gets easy. Sometimes you think you are as prepared as you can be, but nothing can fully prepare you for that kind of news. I was very fortunate to have had most of my great-grandparents for most of my life thus far, however, I was not prepared to lose them. Then there are unexpected deaths, those are the ones that hit the hardest. 

In my senior year of high school, I got the news that a close family member had passed away. You just never know, death is entirely unpredictable.

Dealing with the loss of someone you love is inevitable. Grief looks different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The way someone deals with grief is called coping. 

If we do not learn how to cope with our emotions, we could potentially put ourselves in more danger. I learned this my senior year. Initially, I was in shock and could not cry because in my head, the news I had just gotten was not real. As the days went on, I tried not to cry as the news slowly sunk in since I would not allow myself to cry in front of anyone. I finally could not help but break down multiple times a day and that was not healthy. Slowly I began to cope. Coping can look like a variety of different things; exercising, socializing, sleeping, or even journaling. 

I coped in an unhealthy way and binge ate. People would bring food for days and days and it was all I wanted to do. I knew it was not healthy and I needed to change something, so I looked for alternatives like exercising. 

The National Foundation For Cancer Research has done several studies on grief, “Exercise releases endorphins that will boost your mood naturally.”

 It is hard to get started, but that is why it is so important to be surrounded by supportive people to encourage you. The exercise in no way has to be invasive, just some movement to help you mentally.

Something that has proven effective and I did myself was socializing with people. After I found out about my family’s first death this summer, I took off the rest of the day and floated in the pool with my sister and best friend. I did an activity I enjoyed with people who loved to take me out of reality just for a moment. They helped me take my mind off of what was going on so I would not be sad all day alone. We also had many family gatherings so we could all be together and be with each other through our loss. These are the people you cry with, laugh with, and grieve with, they are important to coping with pain.

Sleeping may sound like it contradicts exercise, however, they are both important together. Staying on a consistent sleep schedule is part of a good daily routine. Without sleep, your mind and body will not be healthy. Nothing’s wrong with a nap here and there during the day either. In a time when you have lost a loved one, your mind might do nothing but race and sleep could be the reset button.

Journaling is a great alternative to expressing your grief if you do not want to say it out loud. No one has to read what you wrote so even if you do like to tell others what you are feeling, there is no con to journaling. Sometimes you do not know what you are truly feeling until you start putting words to paper. The words can just flow out and sometimes, it turns out you are not as good as you thought you were. 

Coping can save people from internal turmoil. Losing someone can make some people completely lost and cause mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. Another reason to have supportive people around you is so they can see red flags and help you achieve a better way of coping. Remember to always reach out if you need someone, and hold your loved ones close because time does not stop for anyone. You can find more helpful ways to cope with grief at