How to deal with loss

Photo Credit: Phoebe Lim

We’ve all lost someone close to us. The reality of loss is that it is an uncontrollable force. Death is a hurricane that tears people and their surroundings apart, disorienting the course of their life. As devastating as it is, though, there is always hope for recovery and positivity.

What I believe to be the most important step in dealing with loss is to simply allow yourself to grieve. Bottling up your distress, pushing your support system away or avoiding the reality of what has happened are all harmful setbacks that could potentially turn a short-term grieving period into a long-term problem, like chronic anxiety or depression.

As a person who deals with mild anxiety, I noticed that it spiked uncontrollably after the recent passing of a dear friend. No one can prepare themselves for this sort of loss and its buckling effects. Even when you think you see it coming, it’s still a heartbreaking shock. That’s why it’s important to let yourself mourn — cry and cry some more, and make sure to watch your favorite Nicholas Sparks movie (A Walk to Remember being mine) in your giraffe onesie with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

No one can prepare themselves for significant loss and its buckling effects.

The second piece of advice I offer might make you roll your eyes, but it works: get active. Leave the bed you’ve been overthinking and sobbing in for the past week and a half and get your gym gear on. Depending on your stage of grief you could be in the mood for kickboxing, hot yoga, or a cool morning run.

Whatever the case, exercise is vital in keeping your body and mind producing endorphins, especially during times of loss. It’s important to choose something that you enjoy. Personally, I revel in tennis and morning runs. I find that when I stay active I feel more empowered, alive, and ready to conquer my day. It brings stability and clarity to my life even when it seems impossible.

The truth is that there is no simple solution or anecdote to relieve the pain of losing a loved one. At first, you may just need to take life one hour at a time, thinking of the ones you’ve lost, remembering them often. You’ll hear their voice fangirling over their favorite band on the radio, when you reach for the phone to call them with good news, or when the good memories that they have left behind wash over you.

Eventually, I guarantee that their memory will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart because they will always be with you, and will wish for you nothing but a beautiful, loving, and peaceful life.