Managing Grief

The Top Coping Strategies to Help You Heal

Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching experiences anyone can go through. The pain of loss can feel unbearable, leaving us with a whirlwind of emotions that can make even the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable. As we navigate through the grieving process, it's crucial to find healthy coping strategies that can help us heal and move forward.

Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching experiences anyone can go through. The pain of loss can feel unbearable, leaving us with a whirlwind of emotions that can make even the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable. Grief is a natural response to loss, and it's important to recognize and acknowledge the difficulties that come with it.

As we navigate through the grieving process, it's crucial to find healthy coping strategies that can help us heal and move forward. Though the journey may be painful, and the road to healing may be long, it's essential to give ourselves permission to grieve and to seek out ways to cope that work best for us.

In this article, we will explore the importance of coping strategies, as well as give some examples and actionable advice to incorporate these practices into your journey of healing.

Why Are Coping Strategies Important?

Coping strategies play a vital role in helping us navigate the complex emotions and challenges that arise during the grieving process. Effective coping mechanisms can provide comfort, stability, and a sense of control during a time when everything can feel chaotic and overwhelming. They can also help us build resilience, allowing us to gradually accept our loss and begin the healing process. According to a study by Bartram and Gardner, individuals who actively engage in adaptive coping strategies, such as seeking support, expressing emotions, and engaging in activities that foster a sense of purpose, report higher levels of psychological well-being during the grieving process. (In Practice, 2008)

Which Coping Strategies Work?

It's important to recognize that coping strategies are not one-size-fits-all. What works for one person may not be effective for another. Each person's grieving process is unique, and it's essential to explore and experiment with various coping strategies to find the ones that resonate with you.

Some individuals may find solace in talking with friends or joining support groups, while others might benefit from journaling or creative expression. The key is to remain open to trying different approaches and to give yourself the time and space to discover what works best for you.

1. Seeking Support

One of the most effective ways to cope with grief is to seek support from others. Connecting with friends, family, or even strangers who have gone through similar experiences can provide a sense of comfort and understanding during this difficult time. By sharing your feelings and experiences, you can gain insight and perspective on your own grieving process and find solace in knowing that you're not alone.

Sources of Support

There are several avenues you can explore when seeking support during the grieving process:

1. Friends and family: Reach out to close friends and family members to share your feelings and experiences. They can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and valuable support.

2. Support groups: Many communities offer grief support groups where you can connect with others who have experienced a similar loss. These groups provide a safe space to share your story, listen to others, and find comfort in knowing you're not alone. You can search for local support groups through organizations like Hospices, Churches, and Funeral Homes.

3. Professional counseling: If you find that your grief is overwhelming or causing significant distress, consider seeking the help of a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in grief and loss. They can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a supportive environment for you to process your emotions.

2. Practicing Self-Care

In the context of grief, self-care refers to the intentional actions and choices we make to nurture our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It is about giving ourselves the necessary attention and compassion we need during a time when we are vulnerable and overwhelmed by loss.

Forms of Self-Care

1.Physical self-care:

  • Get regular exercise, even if it's just a short walk around the neighborhood
  • Prioritize sleep and establish a consistent sleep schedule
  • Eat nutritious meals and stay hydrated
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises

2.Emotional self-care:

  • Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions without judgment
  • Engage in activities that bring joy and comfort, such as watching a favorite movie or reading a book
  • Set boundaries with others to protect your emotional well-being, such as limiting exposure to negative or draining conversations

3.Mental self-care:

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation to help manage stress and anxiety
  • Seek professional counseling or therapy if needed
  • Give yourself permission to take breaks and step away from responsibilities when feeling overwhelmed
  • Engage in activities that promote mental stimulation and growth, such as learning a new skill or hobby

Practicing self-care during the grieving process is essential for several reasons. It helps us maintain a sense of balance, fosters resilience, and allows us to manage the intense emotions that accompany grief. By prioritizing our well-being, we create a foundation for healing and personal growth, ultimately allowing us to navigate the grieving process in a healthier and more adaptive way.

3. Journaling

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-expression and emotional processing. It involves writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, allowing you to process and reflect on your emotions in a safe and private space. Journaling can be particularly beneficial during the grieving process, as it provides an outlet for emotions that may be difficult to express verbally.

Journaling Benefits

Some benefits of journaling for emotional processing include:

  • Increased self-awareness and understanding of your emotions
  • Reduced stress and anxiety by releasing pent-up emotions
  • Improved problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Enhanced emotional healing and personal growth

Getting Started Journaling

If you’ve never tried journaling, it can feel a little strange to just start writing without any guidance or specific purpose. To get started journaling, it can be helpful to follow these steps:

9. Choose a medium: Decide whether you prefer to write by hand in a notebook or type on a computer or mobile device. The choice is yours; just pick the one that feels the most comfortable and accessible for you.

10. Set aside time: Dedicate a specific time each day or week for journaling. Aim for consistency, as this will help you establish a habit and make journaling a regular part of your self-care routine.

11. Use prompts or free-write: If you're unsure what to write about, consider using prompts to guide your writing. Here are some examples:

  • What emotions have I experienced today, and why?
  • How has my loved one's absence affected my daily life?
  • What memories of my loved one do I cherish the most?
  • What are some challenges I've faced during my grieving process, and how have I overcome them?

Alternatively, you can also choose to free-write, allowing your thoughts and emotions to flow onto the page without any specific direction. Remember, be patient and gentle with yourself: There is no right or wrong way to journal and it may take some time to find your rhythm and style.

Examples of Journaling Through Grief

Many individuals who have experienced loss have found solace and healing through journaling. For example, some people find that writing letters to their deceased loved ones helps them maintain a sense of connection and provides a space to express unresolved emotions. Others use journaling as a means to document their journey through grief, tracking their emotional growth and progress over time.

Ultimately, journaling can serve as a powerful coping strategy, providing a therapeutic outlet for the complex emotions that accompany the grieving process.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and other sensations. Meditation is a technique used to train the mind and achieve a state of mental clarity, relaxation, and emotional stability. Both mindfulness and meditation have been widely studied and recognized for their numerous mental health benefits, including reduced stress, improved emotional regulation, and increased self-awareness.

In the context of grief, mindfulness and meditation can help you:

  • Manage overwhelming emotions by promoting emotional awareness and self-compassion
  • Reduce anxiety and stress associated with loss
  • Foster resilience and a sense of inner peace during the grieving proces

How to Begin

Here are some tips for incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your grieving process:

15. Start with short sessions: Begin with just a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation each day, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

16. Focus on your breath: During meditation, concentrate on your breath as a way to anchor your attention to the present moment. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, observing the sensations of your breath as it enters and leaves your body.

17. Practice non-judgmental awareness: When thoughts or emotions arise during meditation or mindfulness practice, acknowledge them without judgment, and gently redirect your focus back to your breath.

18. Use guided meditations: If you're new to meditation, consider using guided meditation resources, such as apps, videos, or audio recordings, to help you get started. These resources typically provide step-by-step instructions and can be tailored to specific situations, such as grief or loss.

Resources to Help You Get Started

There are several resources available to help you get started with mindfulness and meditation:

19. Apps: Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer offer guided meditations and mindfulness exercises specifically designed for grief and loss.

20. Books: Titles such as "Mindfulness & Grief" by Heather Stang, and "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach provide guidance on incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your grieving process.

21. Online resources: offers free guided meditations and resources to support your mindfulness journey.

By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your coping strategies, you can foster a greater sense of emotional balance and resilience as you navigate the challenges of grief.

5. Creative Expression

Creative expression can be a powerful way of coping with grief and processing the complex emotions that accompany loss. Engaging in creative activities such as art, music, writing, or dance allows you to channel your emotions into a tangible form, providing an outlet for feelings that may be difficult to express verbally. Some benefits of using creative outlets to process grief include:

  • Providing a safe and constructive way to release and process emotions
  • Encouraging self-reflection and personal growth
  • Promoting relaxation and stress relief
  • Helping to rebuild a sense of identity and purpose in the wake of loss

Finding the Right Creative Outlet

To find the right creative outlet that resonates with your interests and abilities, consider the following steps:

1. Explore different activities: Try out various creative activities to see which ones you enjoy the most and feel the most connected to. You might experiment with painting, drawing, writing poetry, playing a musical instrument, dancing, or any other form of creative expression that appeals to you.

2. Set realistic expectations: Remember that the goal of creative expression is not to produce a perfect piece of art or performance, but rather to provide an outlet for your emotions and foster personal growth. Focus on the process and the feelings it evokes, rather than the end result.

3. Make it a regular practice: Incorporate your chosen creative outlet into your self-care routine. Set aside dedicated time for your creative pursuits, and view them as an essential component of your healing journey.

4. Seek community: Connect with others who share your creative interests, either through local classes, workshops, or online forums. This can provide additional support and inspiration during the grieving process.

Creative Expression In Grief

Many people have found solace and healing through creative expression during their grieving process. For instance, some individuals create memorial artworks to honor their lost loved ones, while others compose music or write poetry as a tribute to the memories they shared. Some find comfort in crafting a scrapbook filled with photos, stories, and mementos that capture the essence of their relationship with the deceased.

6. Establishing a Routine

Losing a loved one often disrupts the daily routines and habits that we once shared with them, leaving a void in our lives that can be difficult to fill. Establishing new routines and practices can be challenging, but is crucial for several reasons. Maintaining a routine during the grieving process helps provide structure and stability during a time of emotional upheaval, making it easier to navigate the challenges of daily life. Also, creating new routines that incorporate healthy habits and activities can promote physical and emotional well-being, fostering a sense of balance and resilience in the face of loss. While it may be difficult to let go of the routines you shared with your loved one, adapting and developing new practices can support your healing journey and help you rebuild a sense of identity and purpose.

How to Establish a Routine

1. Start small: Begin by establishing a simple, manageable routine that includes basic daily activities such as waking up, eating meals, and going to bed at consistent times. As you grow more comfortable with this routine, gradually incorporate additional activities and habits that support your well-being.

2. Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a central component of your routine and set aside time for some of those activities that were mentioned earlier in the article.

3. Be flexible and adaptable: Recognize that your needs and priorities may change throughout the grieving process, and be willing to adjust your routine accordingly. Allow yourself the flexibility to adapt your routine to better support your healing journey.

4. Set realistic expectations: Remember that it's normal to experience fluctuations in energy and motivation during the grieving process. Be patient and gentle with yourself, and avoid placing excessive demands or expectations on your daily routine.

Benefits of Including Healthy Habits and Activities in Routine

Incorporating healthy habits and activities into your daily routine can have numerous benefits as you navigate the grieving process:

  • Improved physical well-being: Engaging in regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep can boost your energy levels, improve your immune function, and promote overall physical health.
  • Enhanced emotional resilience: Activities we mentioned, such as journaling, practicing mindfulness, and connecting with others can help you process and manage the complex emotions associated with grief, fostering emotional resilience and self-awareness.
  • Increased sense of purpose and accomplishment: Establishing a routine that incorporates meaningful activities and goals can provide a renewed sense of purpose and accomplishment, helping to counter feelings of emptiness or despair that may accompany loss.

By creating and maintaining a balanced routine, you can support your overall well-being and foster a strong foundation for healing during the grieving process.

7. Honoring Your Loved One's Memory

Honoring the memory of a lost loved one is one of the most important aspects of the grieving process. It allows you to celebrate and cherish the unique qualities and experiences that defined your relationship with the deceased, while also providing a sense of connection and continuity. This process can help facilitate healing by acknowledging the ongoing impact and significance of your loved one's presence in your life, even after their physical absence. This can lead to acceptance of the loss, without the guilt we can feel from continuing life without them.

Memorializing a Loved One

There are numerous ways to honor and memorialize your loved one. The key is to choose a method that feels meaningful and authentic to you. Some suggestions include:

1. Create a memory box: Collect cherished mementos, such as photographs, letters, and personal items, in a special box or container. This can serve as a tangible reminder of your loved one and provide comfort during moments of grief.

2. Plant a tree or dedicate a garden: Planting a tree or dedicating a garden in memory of your loved one can create a living tribute that grows and flourishes over time, symbolizing the ongoing impact of their life.

3. Participate in a charity event or make a donation: Engaging in charitable activities or making a donation in your loved one's name can help create a lasting legacy that reflects their values and passions.

4. Create a memorial artwork or craft: Use your creative talents to design a piece of art, a quilt, or a scrapbook that honors your loved one's memory and captures the essence of your relationship.

5. Share stories and memories: Meet with friends and family to share stories and memories of your loved one. Consider gathering together around difficult milestones, such as birthdays or anniversaries, for extra support. This can help keep their memory alive while providing a sense of connection and support among those who are grieving.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of honoring your loved one's memory is to find a method that feels authentic and meaningful to you. This may involve a combination of the suggestions above or an entirely unique approach that resonates with your relationship and experiences.


Throughout this article, we have explored the importance of finding healthy coping strategies to help manage and navigate the complex emotions that accompany grief. By employing these coping strategies you can foster resilience, personal growth, and healing during this challenging time.

As we mentioned before, the journey through grief is a deeply personal and unique experience, and it's important to remember that there is no "right" way or timeline for healing. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you navigate this process. Grief can be an incredibly transformative experience, and with time, patience, and the right coping strategies, you can emerge stronger and more resilient than before.

As you continue on your healing journey, don't hesitate to seek out additional resources and support if needed. This may include professional counseling, grief support groups, books, or online resources tailored to your specific needs and experiences. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Partlow Funeral Chapel if you need any assistance during this difficult time.

May you find comfort, strength, and resilience as you navigate the path of grief and loss.

Reference: (2008). Coping with stress. In pract., 4(30), 228-231.