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Self-Care After a Loss

Everyone responds differently to a loss, and our reactions tend to change over time.  Common reactions include:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief.
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating.
  • Anger, irritability and mood swings.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Guilt, shame and self-blame.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Feeling disconnected or numb.
  • Being reminded of other losses or traumatic events.

It is important to give yourself time to adjust, and not expect to “feel yourself” again right away.

In the midst of this adjustment, look out for unhealthy coping such as:

  • Persistent thoughts about killing yourself.
  • Relying on drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
  • Withdrawing from others and isolating yourself.

If you are experiencing these things, please reach out to get support.  Help is available, and you don’t need to go through this alone.

  • Cal State East Bay Counseling Services – (510) 885-3735
    • After hours phone counseling is available by dialing option “2.”
  • Free Nationwide Crisis Line – (800) 273-TALK
  • The Alex Project Text Support Line - Text LISTEN to 741741

Strategies to get through this hard time:

  • Be gentle with yourself. 

You are going through something significant; give yourself time to adjust.  Know that everyone experiences grief differently.

  • Keep to a routine as much as possible (eat regularly, maintain some physical activity, etc).
  • Get regular sleep. 

If you have significant trouble sleeping for more than a few days, seek help through a counselor or doctor.

  • Talk with friends, family, clergy, or other supportive people. 

It is often helpful to share with others who are also experiencing grief.  At other times, it may feel better to talk to someone with some distance from the situation.

  • Find ways to relax.
  • Do not avoid situations, people and places that remind you of the loss.
  • Give yourself permission to laugh and have fun, even in the midst of your grief.

How are you feeling?  Take a on-line mental health care screening here.  Screenings available include depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance use.  This program is completely anonymous.  Immediately following the brief questionnaire you see your results, as well as recommendations and resources.

For more information, please contact Counseling Services at Student Health and Counseling.  Call (510) 885-3735 or come in person to schedule an appointment with a counselor.

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