How to deal with grief for the first time

The Growing Up Guide

Dealing with grief for the first time can be hard.

Grief is described as “intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death” and for me, personally, this is something I’ve only had to experience for the first time recently.

I’ve been very lucky to make it to the age of 22 and not lose anyone close to me. Of course, there has been family bereavements, but it hasn’t been anyone in my immediate family or that I’ve regularly seen so it didn’t affect me as much as it could have.

A few weeks ago, however, my Grandad passed away unexpectedly from a short-term illness.

I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. I wasn’t sure how to react or even how to act around my dad because he was grieving too.

He lost his best friend.

People react differently to grief and loss and it can affect people in so many ways including anxiety, sadness, helplessness and anger.

I’ve read somewhere that these kinds of feeling are common, and they will eventually pass – although some take longer than others. People sometimes need to seek help from a counsellor, therapist or a GP – and that’s okay too.

There’s no time limit on how long the grieving process will last. It could affect you every day for a year but there are some things you can do to try to come to terms with your loss:

Express yourself

Talking to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor can help to soothe painful emotions. It’s a good way to start the healing process. I found that talking about the good memories I shared with my Grandad and laughing about the silly little things he’d done in his life helped me and made me realise that he had a good life.

Allow yourself to feel sad

Ahealthy part of the grieving process is allowing that sadness to take over for a while. It doesn’t have to be a long time, but no one will judge you for being sad over the loss of someone you loved.


Emotional strain is very tiring. Sometimes when you’re sleeping, it’s the only time the pain goes away so it’s good to give yourself a break away from the upset.

Keep your routine

Going to work, walking the dog or going to the gym. Whatever daily or weekly routine you have, it’s good to keep it up because this gives you a sense of normality.

A heathy diet

A well-balanced diet can have many benefits. Research has shown that good nutrition is essential for our mental health so eating healthily will help you to cope with your grief. Avoiding things that numb the pain, such as alcohol, is also a good idea as you will, essentially, feel worse when the numbness wears off.

There’s lots of help available for dealing with grief and making an appointment with your GP would be a good start. They can give you advice about support services, refer you to a counsellor, or, if needed, prescribe medication.

As well as this, you can also contact Samaritans who offer a safe place for you to talk in your own way about anything that is getting to you.




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