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Living life in the fast lane is the reality for countless women these days. Between work, college, relationships and family, having a minute to sit and breathe is a rarity. Getting wrapped up in the mile-long ‘To-Do List’ we all have often feels inevitable. Though, it seems life always finds a way to give a stiff reality check.

Loss is a hard lesson we all learn; it teaches us the importance of slowing down and appreciating what we have. Whether it’s the loss of a family member, friend, pet or the loss of your relationship, grief always follows close behind. As someone who has lost a series of significant figures in my life over the past several years, I know that coping is a challenge. Finding the balance between fulfilling your work and school commitments while also making space to nurture your mental health is almost as stressful as experiencing the loss itself. 

The initial shock of losing a person, pet or connection in your life can often leave you feeling like your living in an alternate reality. Personally, acceptance was the hardest part of my grieving process. Attempting to cope with the fact that a part of your life is gone can feel daunting. Though every person experiences grief differently, there are many tips on how to stay functional while coping with the pain of loss. Unfortunately, some of those tips can seem almost impossible when life is still moving at a million miles a minute. When the phone keeps ringing and the emails pile up, finding time to grieve is more important than ever.

When I experienced my first loss, I was two months into my first semester of college, working 40 hours a week and doing research on the side. My life was the busiest and most fulfilling it had ever been. My grandparents were my rocks and the sole reason I made it out of high school with my head still attached. After I lost both of them, it felt like my life was not mine anymore.

The most challenging part was the continued work that I had to get done. Life didn’t slow down to aid in my grieving. My family suggested I see a therapist, which is a wonderful option for people who have the access and means to see one. For those who are unable to access a therapist, as I was in this situation, the best advice I received was to focus on human connection.

Even though work and college don’t stop, you can find a way to incorporate those things into your grieving process. Deepening your connection with friends, classmates or coworkers is an excellent step to take for a grieving soul. Expanding the group of people you find comfort in is a great way to aid the grieving process. If reaching out to people in your circle isn’t right for you, losing yourself in a new or existing hobby may be a good option.

Keep work at work and take time for your passions, drawing, hiking, cooking or volunteering, do what you makes you joyous. Writing a letter to the person who has passed in your life can also be a relieving way to get out any underlying emotions you may have. Others who grieve choose to throw themselves into their work or school, which can be useful, but everything is good in moderation.

Though I can give tips on grieving until my fingers ache from typing, the most crucial part of the grieving process is to find what works for you. No matter how cheesy that may sound, coping is an individual process—though advice, connection and distractions may help. Finding your inner peace and fully accepting your loss is the only thing that will get your life back on track in a healthy way.

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Amber is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida. She is majoring in Industrial Organizational Psychology with a minor in Sociology. After graduation, she hopes to enroll in a psychology Doctoral program. If you can't find her studying, she is most likely doing yoga, painting, or spending time with her cats.
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