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13 Top Tips For Dealing With Grief When It Knocks Hard On Your Door

Written by: Christy Roberts, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Christy Roberts

When my cheeky, fun-loving 18-year-old son, Aaron, died suddenly in a car accident, my whole world imploded and changed. It felt like the very foundations collapsed from right underneath my feet. Life as I knew it irrevocably shifted in the blink of an eye. One fateful accident. One phone call. It's been nothing short of a devastatingly brutal journey, a road that I will continue to travel and navigate for the rest of my life.

Two women dealing with grief on the sofa

What I have learned about dealing with grief

I’ve learned that grief makes a lot of people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say or do, it’s outside our level of comfort. Most people don’t know how to support someone grieving.

I’ve learned how grief illiterate our society is. At the time of Aaron’s death, I was an experienced Life Coach, yet I knew absolutely nothing about grief, or how to process such deep emotional pain and trauma.

I’ve learned to articulate how grief honestly feels and share this with others to improve awareness, support, and understanding.

I’ve also learned that grief is not something that heals in a couple of months or even a year. It can be a lifelong journey because the person you love will always be gone, therefore there will always be an element of grief. The grief will change over time, however, time does not heal grief, it’s what we do with the time that counts.

I’ve come to understand that grief takes many forms. In its purest form, it’s an expression of love. When we lose someone or something we love, we grieve. Whether it’s a person, a broken relationship, our health, a job, or even our home, grief hurts and is a deeply emotional, physical, mental, and sometimes spiritual experience.

In life, tragic things can and do happen. The key is recognizing that how we respond to events shapes how they affect us long term. We can’t change the fact that someone we dearly love or care about has died, but we have choices about how we decide to respond and move forward.

One of the best ways to support a griever is simply to witness their pain. Ask them, how do you feel today? Because every day is different. We don’t ‘fix’ grievers, because they are not broken. Grief is a natural response to loss.

The emotions of grief

You can feel sad, angry, numb, and confused over your loss. Of course, you feel these things. You can feel shame, guilt, trauma, and overwhelm. You can also feel love, joy, and relief. There is no right or wrong to the plethora of emotions we feel in grief. These emotions are not linear, rather I like to describe them as waves, or a pendulum, and sometimes they’re a tsunami that knocks you off your feet and takes your breath away.

I live in Australia, the 2nd most medicated country in the world for depression and anxiety. To me, this is ridiculous! In grief, people are not automatically depressed; they are sad, this is situational and natural. It appears some doctors are way too quick to prescribe medication.

  • Grieving people need guidance and support.

  • Grieving people need to learn healthy ways to feel and express emotions, rather than numb and avoid them.

  • Grieving people need to have their pain witnessed and accepted.

  • Grieving people need to be allowed to feel their emotions, whatever they are, without judgment or thinking they’re not doing it right.

When we deny the deep emotions of grief, through suppression and avoidance, we trap the pain inside us. These trapped emotions can lead to mental and physical symptoms that manifest in many different ways throughout our life. Trapped emotions can lead to illness and disease.

The journey of grief is navigating through the pain, toward love again. You can learn a new way to live life fully, despite your loss. This isn’t about finding the silver linings, being positive, and avoiding our grief. This is embracing the pain of our loss and learning healthy and resourceful ways to express and feel our emotions so that we can live our best life.

The 13 top tips for dealing with grief

Follow these 13 tips for dealing with grief.

1. Listen to your body – you need to feel to heal

Don’t avoid your feelings of grief, get curious and learn to understand them. It’s unhealthy to shut down, suppress and avoid emotions, have fits of rage, feel guilty, be overwhelmed, anxious, ashamed, depressed, etc. Learn to move the pain through and out of your body. Self Directed Healing is a revolutionary healing modality that works energetically and gets fast results in this area.

2. Find healthy ways to handle and process emotion.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Writing

  • Crying

  • Resting

  • Walking in nature

  • Having your grief witnessed

  • Taking care of yourself

  • Eating well

  • Exercise

  • Punch a punching bag or your pillow

  • Meditation

  • Self-Directed Healing

  • Grief yoga (

  • Join a grief support group

  • Access books, podcasts, and online resources. David Kessler’s book Finding Meaning and the website are great resources

  • I offer a free downloadable Grief eBook on my website at

3. Set yourself up for success

When it comes to celebrating special events and occasions without your loved one, plan in advance by thinking of ways to fill your day with love and something you enjoy. Check out this video Grief on Special Occasions & the Holiday Season for ideas.

4. Create new rituals, for example:

  • Set an extra place at the table

  • Light a candle

  • Share and tell stories

  • Keep a photo of them close by

  • I still buy an easter egg for my son that we all share

5. Consider – what will help you, what do you need?

If your grief had a voice, what would it say? Write a letter and allow your grief the freedom to speak. Let it be heard and breathe.

6. Recognise that ‘pain is inevitable but suffering is optional’ ‒ David Kessler

This is an important distinction. In grief pain is inevitable, you cannot avoid it. Whereas, suffering is the additional layers of guilt and the stories that we attach to our grief. Everyone’s grief is different because everyone’s experience is different. If you are 2+ years down the track and you feel stuck in your grief, then you are most likely suffering, so please reach out for help because it doesn’t have to be this way.

7. Notice your inner dialogue

The What Ifs: It’s very normal and natural for our mind to have ‘what if’ questions. Why wasn't I there?' , ‘What if I had done something differently?' These questions are natural when a person is seeking to process and make sense of what has happened. But in the absence of understanding, our mind can fill in the blanks. This creates more suffering; it adds to our pain and can keep us stuck. If someone you love dies, you will grieve you will have pain, but if you reinforce the suffering with what-if scenarios it creates layers of guilt and shame.

8. Challenge the stories ‒ play them out and be kind to yourself

Notice the stories:I’ll never be happy again,’ ‘My life is destroyed,’ ‘I can’t live without them,’ ‘I’m heartbroken.’ Begin to notice and challenge these statements. Are they true? Are they kind? Are they serving you? Helping you grow? Nurturing you? If not, what can you replace them with? Grief Coaching is beneficial.

9. Empower yourself

Ask yourself empowering questions like, ‘How can I live my life fully despite this grief?’ The fact that you even ask this question presupposes it is totally possible. What other empowering questions can you ask yourself? Write a list.

10. Look for examples

Look for examples of people who are living well with their grief. What do they do differently?

11. Get professional support

You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist to fix a sore tooth, would you? Many institutions don’t teach grief education and support. Make sure if you are seeking professional grief support that they are experienced and understand grief.

12. Join a grief support group

Talking to others who are experiencing grief is very powerful. Grief can often feel isolating and lonely. When you are around other grievers and can speak freely about your pain, it helps. All groups will have different cultures, so if one group is not right for you, look for another. Today we live in a digital world that makes online support readily available.

13. Remember you’re the pilot of your life

You make choices; even doing nothing is a choice. Overall, a good guide can be to consider what your loved one would want for you. Would they want you to be happy again, to love again, to enjoy your life? Use this as your compass – because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want you to be stuck in your grief.

Final notes, additional resources, and support

There is nothing I can do to bring my son back. However, I am continually seeking ways to honor Aaron's memory. I am driven to show up and I choose to strive toward living my best life. For me, increasing grief literacy throughout the world and providing support to others in grief is an important aspect of my grief journey. If you are experiencing grief, supporting someone grieving, a leader, therapist, coach, or healer, then I encourage you to come along to our Free Living with Grief MasterClass

You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more valuable free content.

Download our free Living with Grief eBook.

Grief is tough, but I encourage you to do something today that your future self will be grateful for.

As I continue on my grief journey, I am creating a life that builds Aaron’s legacy as a tribute to the fact that his life matters, he is honored, cherished, loved beyond measure, and forever remembered.

In loving memory of my son, Aaron Wawra Forever 18

Christy Roberts – Creating Change

Coach, Grief Educator & Healer

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Christy!

Brainz Magaine Contributor Christy

Christy Roberts, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Christy is the Global Self Directed Healing Practitioner Trainer, an award-winning Coach, and Grief Educator with over 20+ years of Human Resources and Organisational Development experience.

She helps people journey through the toughest of life’s challenges, like grief, trauma, anger, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, fear, overwhelm, stress, and burnout.

Christy is passionate about unlocking our human potential, transforming mindsets, and supporting people to get out of their own way and live their ultimate lives by achieving the success and results they desire.

She provides Coaching, Self Directed Healing, Workshops, and Educational Resources that positively impact people, leaders, and workplaces.

As Founder of Creating Change, she is driven to make a change in our society and culture, so that we are more authentically connected to ourselves and living with passion and purpose.


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