Counseling Center

Coping with Loss

Reactions to loss can take many forms depending in part on the suddenness of the event, your prior relationship with the person, your personality style, and your previous experience with loss or adversity.

Common feelings and reactions include:

  • Shock, disbelief, numbness
  • Exhaustion
  • Sadness, fear, anxiety, frustration Guilt
  • Loss of motivation

  • Poor sleep and concentration
  • Irritability/restlessness
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Easily overwhelmed

For some, these feelings and reactions occur soon after the event. For others, they may emerge weeks or months later.

Suggestions for Coping

  • Give yourself permission and TIME to deal with your feelings and reactions.
  • Try to maintain some aspects of your normal routine, but be patient with yourself if you can’t keep up with everything.                     
  • Talk about your feelings and reactions with family, friends, clergy or mental health professionals.
  • Think about your priorities and focus your energy and resources on those priorities. Be careful not to overload yourself.
  • Eat well-balanced, regular meals.
  • Exercise and allow time for healthy recreational activities.
  • Get enough rest.                     
  • If helpful for you, seek comfort from your religious/spiritual beliefs and practices, join a support group.
  • Be kind to yourself. 

If difficult feelings and reactions persist, seek professional help. Some resources for obtaining help are listed on the right.