The COVID pandemic brought a wave of losses to our everyday world. A staggering number of lives were lost. Yet there were also intangible losses that are harder to quantify but were, and are, very much a part of our lived experience. Processing and managing these changes in circumstance can be challenging to our mental wellness and sense of contentment. That’s why we want to shine a light on some of the many forms of loss and offer tips to help support you and your loved ones through feelings of grief.

What loss can look like

You can lose something physical, like a set of keys, a job or money in the stock market. And then there are emotional losses too, like the death of a grandparent, a pet and so on. Of course, the amount of significance we attach to those losses varies with the beholder. For some, losing a loved one hurts far more than a lost object. For others, it may be the opposite. While the experience of loss is deeply personal, it helps to be able to define that loss. Especially for losses of people and pets, many cultures have rituals and processes to help navigate through sorrows. These paths can be a comfort during a very challenging time.

Other losses, however, are harder to define. They’re the major life changes or less-tangible losses that can have real effects on our well-being.1 For example, divorce brings a loss of marital status and change to the family unit. Job loss can trigger financial worries and sever your professional identity.2 Moving away from your social connections can leave you feeling lost—and, literally, getting lost—in a new physical environment. Aging or a life event can bring a loss of independence and freedom.

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For many, living with these losses is emotionally unsettling. They might lower your self-esteem and leave you feeling depressed, anxious, stressed or socially withdrawn.1 Maybe you feel it in your sense of control, of justice, of faith in institutions like education, healthcare, or financial or social support systems.1 These effects can disrupt your normal activities and relationships and could leave you feeling angry, afraid, sad, numb, confused or alter your mood, energy level or sleep patterns.3

Tips for working through grief and loss

Loss and grief are uniquely personal experiences. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve and no one solution that works for everyone to relieve the pain of those losses. From our work with experts in the field, we’ve gathered this list of five tips to help you work through grief and restore a sense of balance moving forward:

  • Name and claim the loss. Write about the loss, whether it’s tangible or not. It helps to define it and validate that it’s real.1 Think about the strengths you have to cope with that loss.1 Honor loved ones with a celebration of life, memory book or tribute page.3
  • Stay connected. Social coping is a powerful force to help you get through grief and loss.3 If you’re able, be physically present with others who share the loss. If you can’t be there in person, keep in touch virtually through digital means.1,3
  • Start a new chapter. Especially for losses like employment, divorces or separations, it’s important to recognize that change is difficult but natural. Try a new activity or hobby. Create a starting point to move forward from and help re-orient your focus to a positive future state.1
  • Stick to a routine. Eat healthy, balanced meals, stay hydrated and active, and keep to a regular sleep schedule. The physical and mental benefits are good on their own and can also help maintain a feeling of control along with a sense of order and purpose.3
  • Talk to a counselor. A professional familiar with grief and loss can help guide you through your feelings and learn ways to manage them better.

Online mental health resources

Have questions about feelings of loss and grief? We can help. At Teladoc Health, we’ve made mental healthcare more accessible so that you don’t have to wait weeks for an appointment. With a virtual appointment, you can speak with a mental health counselor right from your home, your office or wherever you’re most comfortable. We’re here to help you get started today!

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Published August 31, 2023


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