Coping with Grief

Ain’t no shame in holding on to grief … as long as you make room for other things too.
- ‘Bubbles’/The Wire

Grieving is hard and takes a while, especially at first. It seems like the pain will never go away.

Things do get easier, and you will feel better.

Just give it time.

Try balancing out that grieving time with some of the strategies on this page. It’ll bring relief and help you cope.

Allow plenty of time and talk it out

Grieving can be lonely. Share with a person you trust, a friend, a family member, or a professional like your GP or a counsellor. They might have helpful advice and remember, ‘a burden shared is a burden halved’.  Remember that grief can take a while.  You need time to heal.

Write about it

Keeping a journal gives you a safe place to write down how you feel and record memories of the person you’ve lost. Writing it out can help you identify troubles and find solutions. Reading back, you can track your grief and see, over time, how well you’re coping and the positive progress you’re making. 

Lock in some fun

Do the things you enjoy, even if it’s a small thing and only for a short time each day. Listen to music, exercise, meditate, hang out with mates, whatever makes you feel good. Be kind to yourself. It’s OK to feel happy.

Focus on the positive

Keeping positive amidst so many negatives is a tough call but try practicing this. Look at the grief you are experiencing. Is there a positive here? Is it teaching you something about yourself? Is it making you stronger? Is it providing you with a new and positive mindset for your own future and what you want to accomplish in life? 

Disregard the ‘should’

Grief make us vulnerable.  Even everyday situations can be too hard to bear. Don’t stay in a stressful conversation just because you feel you ‘should’, or you ‘should’ go out with friends when you’re tired and would rather be alone. There will be another time and you’ll enjoy it more when you feel better. Give yourself permission to say ‘no thanks’ or take yourself away from a stressful situation until you feel calmer.  

Make lists

Life goes on. There are things you need to do and get done. Grieving makes us forgetful, easily muddled, so make lists, draw up a schedule  and be sure to include the fun stuff. Making lists will help you prioritise.

Writing down the gratitude

When you’re feeling down, try writing down three or four things you are grateful for. They can be big (‘my health’) or little (‘a good coffee’).  Keep the list handy so you can remind yourself of the things you’re thankful for.

Grieving time

It’s OK to cry and it’s good for you so don’t hold back. Accept that it hurts and it’s hard and some days the crying is non-stop. As time goes by, we cry less but still need to sit, remember, to grieve. Try making a time in your day, or your week, to grieve. This could be meditation, prayer, listening to a certain piece of music, going to a place that has special meaning, or simply sitting at home with a treasured memento of the person you’ve lost. Remember that it’s OK not to cry too. We all express grief in different ways.  

Relax and stay healthy

Slow things down, take a hot bath, walk along a quiet beach or a peaceful wooded pathway, go out for a coffee to your favourite place and watch the world go by, read a book, listen to music, cuddle the cat. Learn some relaxation techniques, take Mindfulness classes, and use creative visualisations.  Keep up your exercise routines and sports and eat well. Using alcohol and drugs can make difficult feelings more painful. It may make things easier to deal with at the time, but harder afterwards.

What else can I do?


Visit our ‘Hey Youth’ section

Youthline has a telephone and webchat service

Skylight has a page of online resources you can link to

See our Tips for Mental Fitness