Understanding and coping with grief
When we experience a loss such as a death of a friend, family member, or colleague, it is important to understand this loss can affect us in many ways. Grief responses are varied and everyone grieves differently. It’s also important to understand that grief is normal. It is the expected response to death – and can include a wide range of emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt or disbelief. Grief can also affect us both physically and cognitively. We may feel more tired, more anxious, have trouble concentrating or find it difficult to make even minor decisions.
What can help us cope with grief?
- Recognize that coping with loss takes energy;
- Get rest, eat properly and take time for a walk, a run or other physical activity to help maintain the resources we need to cope;
- Maintain routines and stay connected with friends and support people;
- Talk and talk and listen – it helps to process and make meaning of the change in our lives;
- Acknowledge feelings and try not to judge others who may be dealing with their grief in a different way;
- Be kind to yourself and others – share good memories, and remember that it is okay to laugh and have fun when you are grieving;
- Most importantly, reach out today if you or someone you know is struggling.
Where can you go for help?
There are a number of different services available to help you cope with grief. Here are a few services we recommend in the London, Ontario area:
- CMHA Mental Health Crisis Centre – walk-in 24/7 for immediate crisis support
- Reach Out – call 24/7 for information, support and crisis service
- Good2Talk – a post-secondary student helpline for 24/7 support
- Fanshawe College’s Counselling and Accessibility Services – available for students experiencing distress
Suzanne Book, MSW, RSW, is Senior Manager of Counselling and Accessibility Services with Fanshawe College and is a social worker with over 35 years of direct service and leadership experience in mental health within an educational setting.
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