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It’s safe to say that the last year has been hard on most of us. Perhaps you or someone close to you lost a job.  Some of you had to readjust your regular schedule or work hours to homeschool your children. Many of you know someone who had or passed away from COVID-19.

Many of you have experienced the loss of a loved one. The loss of a loved one, be it a person or a pet, the loss of a relationship, a job, or perhaps something else, can cause grief.  Grief has run rampant over the last year, and early studies have already shown anxiety and depression rates on the rise because of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, far too many people coping with loss try to ignore the grieving process or find their own way through by themselves. Ignoring grief or trying to find a way to cope by yourself are often unhealthy and potentially harmful choices.

No matter what type of loss you’ve experienced over the last year, the question is, how can you deal with grief in a healthy, fulfilling way? Is it possible to turn a negative into a positive and move forward with your life?

Don’t Deny Your Emotions.

One of the worst things you can do when you’re going through a hard time is to try to suppress your emotions. It’s essential to acknowledge what you’re feeling and take the time to understand what these feelings mean.

You can ignore your emotions only for so long. Eventually, your emotions will bubble to the surface. This is typically when you make bad choices and end up finding unhealthy ways of coping with your grief.

Instead of suppressing your emotions, it’s best to acknowledge them. Understand that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, lost, or anything else. Accepting your emotions & working through them will make it easier to keep moving forward.  Trying to suppress your feelings may keep you stuck in a miserable place.

Finding Closure

You must understand there is no concrete timeline after which the grieving process ends. However, it is possible to make the process easier by finding closure with whoever or whatever you may have lost. For example, if you have lost your job, start looking for a new one with the understanding that your old job is gone. You will not be returning there.

If you lost a beloved pet, you might want to consider a memorial ceremony or funeral. If you lost a family member or a friend, consider purchasing a marker. Things such as bronze headstones can help you honor your lost beloved.  Another benefit of having a headstone is that it gives you a place to go and visit.  This may offer you some finality to the situation.

No matter what the situation may be, do what you can to find closure in your own time. Don’t try to force it because force doesn’t work effectively in this type of situation. It’s important to understand in your head and heart that this chapter has closed in your life, and a new chapter is about to begin.

Lean on Your Support System

It’s always important to have a support system by your side. However, when you’re grieving, it’s practically a necessity. It’s okay to lean on people you can trust & talk to openly and honestly about what you’re feeling. This support system can be friends, family members, a support group, or even a therapist.

Talking, just as accepting your emotions in the first place, can help you to work through the stages of grief openly and honestly. Talking allows you to see that life goes on. Talking doesn’t mean you need to give up or leave behind your memories. Talking helps you to let go of your grief.

Everyone experiences grief differently. Dealing with it in healthy, productive ways is what truly matters when it comes to taking those first steps into the next chapter of your life. Keep these ideas and suggestions in mind to help with any feelings of grief you might be experiencing.

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