Coping Strategies from people struggling with different challenges

From grieving a loss of a loved one to mental health or addiction challenges, divorce, or dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis, these are the coping strategies the emotionally naked tribe has shared. I hope you find one that works for you. Because our lives are not perfect.

About Mindfulness

You don’t have to be a Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, sea turtle lover to stay in the present. Which, by the way, is the foundation of mindfulness and working through painful times. Apps like Calm and Headspace help you learn to meditate and there are many free meditations on DoYogaWithMe.com.

Even pausing, walking outside, and taking a deep breath counts. It is a commitment and one I’m grateful I took the time to adopt. 

Here are some of the coping strategies in bullet point form:

  • Beekeeping
  • Reading fart jokes
  • Screaming at the windshield
  • Taking “angry” hikes
  • Crying in the shower
  • Finding a support group
  • Watching “Dry Bar Comedy”
  • Writing until my fingers fall off

Strategies from the Emotionally Naked Tribe Coping Survey

“I pray, allow feelings to come as they come, whether it is crying, laughing, screaming.”
—Female, I lost a child to Suicide

“I created a vision board of how I want the future to look for myself; something that does not reflect my current pain but is a life with possibilities. I look at it to remind me to keep moving forward even though I am grieving.”
—-Female, I lost a child in an Accident

“keep myself occupied with meaningful activities such as writing”
—Male, I lost a parent, a beloved pet, I live with thoughts of suicide, I support someone who struggles

“Pray. Take a walk. Pet my dog. Journal. Do yoga or pilates. Spend time with a friend or family member. Call my mom. Read. Watch a movie I love…… Clean a part of my house. Text my brother. Hug my partner. Take a long bath with Epsom salt in it. Go to the park. Take a drive. Doodle. Work in my yard. Listen to a sermon. Listen to a talk on mental health. Clean out my inbox. Tend to my plants. Listen to relaxing music. De-clutter and throw things out or donate them. Feed the birds in my yard/fill the feeders. Sit in the sun. Breathe deeply.”
—Female, an educator, I live with a mental health condition, I support someone who struggles

“…Talking about her and how she died”
—Female I lost a child, suicide

“Excepting it, I guess!”
—Male I lost a parent to Illness/Disease, a partner/spouse, a beloved pet, I live with a mental health condition, I support someone who struggles

“Suicide Reading and advocating for suicide prevention and LOSS Team for survivors of suicide”
—Female I lost a child to suicide, I lost a beloved pet, I support someone who struggles, I am an educator

“Walked, until I couldn’t walk anymore. Screamed in my car driving down 295. Journaled before falling asleep…..”
—Female, I lost a child, Drug-related death

“My mom died of cancer when I was 25; my dad (cancer) when I was 26; my childhood best friend (car accident) when I was 35; my son (suicide) when I was 53 and my brother (suicide by substance) three weeks later. The one thing that has pulled me through all of it has been the best mind-eraser I’ve known: ART. I can pour my heart out there. The world sees crashing waves, for example, but with each fold of surf, I can tuck away pieces of my pain. I’ve learned to mask my vulnerability in puddles of paint. Grad school professors called it my ‘visual language’ because the same themes kept appearing on the canvas (or paper, or sheetrock, or whatever I could find). ….. The artwork that comes from such horrific loss is very moving..”
–Female, I lost a child, parent, sibling, illness, suicide, SUD (substance use disorder)

“i really don’t have any. I try to think God has a plan, But at times I question how God could let this happen. It is excruciating pain to watch my daughter suffer every day and cannot do anything to stop her pain. I worry every day that she will break and take her own life to escape the pain.”
—Female I struggle/live with substance use disorder, I support someone who struggles, I lost a granddaughter accident

“Nature, primarily – getting outside and being in ‘that which is bigger than me.’ Helps me feel both present and timeless. I also exercise – being in nature :).
–Female I lost a partner/spouse/significant other/ex, I support someone who struggles, I am an educator Accident, Illness/Disease

“Long walks.”
–Male, lost a child Suicide

“be grateful and let go”
–Male, I live with a mental health condition, I support someone who struggles Illness/Disease

“I work on puzzles. 2000 piece are best because they are harder to do and take the focus off my son’s suicide, if only for a little while. My husband built me a small cottage behind our home and it is my puzzle retreat where I keep memories of my life, good and bad. I enjoy your posts and they help, like my puzzles, your posts provide some form of relief. Thank you.
Female I lost a child Suicide

“1. Volunteer work to educate about harms and risks of marijuana.
2. Various grief support groups.”
–Female, I lost a child, a parent, a sibling to Suicide and Illness/Disease

“I think it’s important to see how far we have come not how far we still have to go……Instead of looking to Heaven and asking “Why me?” ask “Why not me?” People in 3rd world countries are far worse, do your job, smile and do it till the end of the week and then next week. Sometimes instead of going down a rabbit hole, spend time with your loved ones and away from technology.
–Female I lost a loved one to Illness/Disease

“I’m finding everything so hard. My motivation has plummeted. I’ve started painting and also playing my guitar more. Anything that distracts my mind helps.” 
–Male, relationship breakdown

“…I maintain a beautiful winter garden….By midwinter, I will have a beautiful flower garden in full bloom during the most darkest depressing months here where it rains all winter. When we get snow the flowers continue to bloom And there is nothing more beautiful than flowers blooming in the snow. My winter plants gave me a lot of hope….I think the best coping mechanisms are the ones that bring joy to the child inside.”
–I lost a parent, a loved one (best friend, co-worker, cousin, grandparent etc), a beloved pet, I live with a mental health condition, thoughts of suicide, chronic physical illness 

“In the beginning, I read endlessly to understand SUD. Then I started a grief recovery group. Helping others is a good way to work through your own grief. I think of my daughter every day and multiple times a day – it’s been 9 years. I feel what I feel and move ahead each time.”
–Female, lost a son to SUD

“I pray and meditate on the word of God.”
–Female I lost a sibling, I support someone who struggles Illness/Disease

“Don’t look how far ahead you have to go, look how far ahead you’ve come
Female, I lost a loved one, I live with thoughts of suicide, frequent tearfulness, daydreaming”–Female I lost a loved one, I live with thoughts of suicide frequent tearfulness, daydreaming

“Sharing. Blog. Or a recovery meeting. Hearing others share.”
–Female, I am divorced and co-parent w/ an addict and worry constantly for my sons

“Meditating to Thich Nhat Hahn
Exercise
Being outside
Golfing”
–Male, I lost a child to Suicide

“must survive to live, and 1 day at a time”
–Male, I lost a partner/spouse/significant other/ex, I lost a loved one, a beloved pet

“Dry Bar comedy channel on YouTube offers a lot of free half-hour from very funny comedians ….Watching comedians online helps to ground me and bring a smile to my face.”
–Female I lost a parent, a sibling, a loved one, I support someone who struggles Suicide, Illness/Disease

“One minute at a time just kept going even if sobbing all the way.”
–Female, I lost a partner/spouse/significant other/ex, Suicide

“I pray and take time to go into deep worship of God. I go for runs and the feel-good hormones kick in, I cycle, I read my Bible. I play with my neighbor’s baby, read a good book, watch a good movie, hike, visit forests they have amazing oxygen levels and healing happens, I focus on what’s going well… I stay away from hurtful mean people”
–Female I am an educator

“By reading of how others felt and I have to stop thinking that nobody cares. That’s how I have been feeling for the past several yrs and weeks. I’m glad there’s someone that cares to write for others to read. Thank you.”
—Female I lost a sibling to suicide, a partner/spouse to Suicide, Accident, Illness/Disease, a loved one, a beloved pet, I live with a mental health condition, I live with thoughts of suicide, I struggle/live with substance use disorder, I am an educator

“After losing my partner, I went to the cemetery daily, saw a medium every so many months, talked to him while looking at pictures, talked to him in the car after work. It’s been 3 years 2 months 5 days, I have to keep busy. I work as much as I can. If I sit for to long I start to get into my head and get mad at him for completing. That doesn’t happen very often. I stay busy now. Alot of sudoku puzzles.”
—Female I lost a partner to suicide, I live with a mental health condition, I live with thoughts of suicide

“The last six years have been filled with the searing pain of losing my son to suicide, losing my brother and both of my parents within 12 months of each other, my daughter losing a baby at 27 weeks, and losing my beloved husband of 35 years to cancer. The trauma and grief many days has made me feel like I am drowning and can’t find the surface. Counseling has been a lifeline and support groups have helped. My faith has always been my anchor and I am learning Christ was a man of sorrow acquainted with much grief. I have wrestled and cried more tears of anguish these last six years then in my whole life. My daughter, son-in-law and three beautiful granddaughters give me reason to keep going, one day at a time.”
—Female, I lost a child, parent, sibling, partner/spouse/significant, other/ex Suicide, Illness/Disease

“I attended a GriefShare class through my local church. The class has provided many useful techniques to manage grief and support from others who have lost loved ones.”
—Male, I lost a child, Suicide

“I think of him [my son] every day and remember our good times and also reflect on the trying times. I listen to music we shared when riding to school together and think of his shenanigans and they bring a smile. Then I wonder how he got so messed up with drugs and was able to hide it from all of us and know it was killing him and I get so mad with him. It truly is a roller coaster ride and I wish I just had 5 minutes more with him to try to understand him and I feel so sorry for what he must have been going through and we didn’t see it! I walk a lot and just talk to him and get out some of my feelings and that helps me cope with his loss.”
–Female, I lost a child, a sibling, I am an educator, Lost to Suicide and COVID

List of healthy and unhealthy coping strategies generated by teenagers in a workshop

See the spreadsheet

Take the anonymous survey

coping strategies for grief and loss

Free eBook Coping Strategies for Grief & Loss

Short, easy-to-read strategies for managing the pain of grief by Anne Moss Rogers, Karla Helbert LPC, and contributing author Charlotte Moyler. Download Now.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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