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Self-care while coping with death and loss

Reestablishing a healthy routine and helping children cope can feel difficult in the middle of grief and bereavement. But keeping up with your self-care is an important part of coping with loss and grief, and so is understanding how to talk to children about death and loss. Here are a few things to consider and keep in mind as you’re navigating bereavement and helping kids along the way.

Self-care can help you cope with death and loss

After a loss, the details of funeral planning, settling the estate, attending to legal and financial matters, and other tasks can be laborious. Once those tasks are done, it can be difficult to resume your normal day-to-day activities while grieving and coping with life without the person you’ve lost. 
  • Consider talking to a therapist if you’re feeling alone, isolated, or having trouble reconnecting or maintaining connections with others as you grieve. 
  • Exercising regularly, or even simply walking alone or with others can increase motivation and be beneficial as you grieve.1
  • Consider eating well-balanced meals and avoiding high-fat or processed foods.1 You could also schedule a lunch outing with friends or family to socialize while sharing a meal.
  • It’s okay to give yourself time and space to sort through your emotions and come to terms with losing someone you love. You can't always control grief, and it's perfectly normal to have a hard time as you cope.

Helping children cope: talking to kids about the death of a loved one

Most children have some awareness of death, although they may not have total comprehension. Like adults, grief is not the same for each child, and it’s okay to talk to them directly, honestly and age-appropriately. Depending on their age, you may not want to go into a lot of detail, but answering questions honestly can help them understand what has happened, grieve, and develop coping skills.2

While talking to children, you may want to discuss the concept of your loved one continuing to live on in their hearts and minds, reassure them their feelings are okay and help them feel safe, stick to their routines as much as possible, and pay special attention to challenges as they adjust.2

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More to explore

1. “How to overcome grief’s health-damaging effects,” Harvard Health Publishing, February 15, 2021, 2. Rachel Ehmke, “Helping Children Deal With Grief,” Child Mind Institute, February 20, 2023,

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.