Coping with the Death of a Loved One

By Julie Morris

When a loved one passes away, it takes time to heal. Time to cope with the news, mourn, and grieve. Time to assist with planning funeral arrangements, and maybe some time off work.
As you or your coaching client consider returning to work after the loss of a close loved one, there may be feelings of dread or anxiety. Luckily, there are a few things that help to prepare. Here’s how you can yourself or help your client return to work while still honoring the memory of a loved one.

Understanding the Five Stages of Grief

While grieving, people experience a range of emotions including denial, depression, anger, or despair. All of these feelings are normal during the grieving process. In fact, they are steps toward ultimately learning to accept what happened.

How to Handle the Warning Signs of Depression

Depression can be a normal stage of grief. It can also sometimes become chronic, long-term depression. In extreme cases, it can lead to more serious issues like addiction. In the most extreme cases, it can possibly even lead to suicide. Those who are grieving the death of a loved one are especially at risk. If you or your client begin to experience suicidal thoughts or urges, treat it like an emergency. Contact a suicide prevention hotline or speak to a trained professional right away. These services are literally life-saving.

For other common warning signs of depression, such as negative thought patterns, fatigue, and/or lack of concentration, you or your client may want to speak to a grief counselor, trusted friends, and family members. Trained professionals may also recommend additional options, such as medications that might ease depression.

Coach training teaches that coaching is different from mental health services.  Those who have completed coaching certification know that their role is to support the client moving forward.  This may mean celebrating the life of a loved one with them, identifying what memories they want to keep, designing strategies to cope with their emotions and memories in the future, and planning how they will honor that person while moving forward themselves.

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