Hey everyone, I wanted to discuss something more serious for my blog post this week. Growing up, I experienced many losses in my life, especially in highschool, and didn’t really know how to handle them. Looking back, talking about different ways to cope with grief would’ve been helpful to my mental health instead of keeping my emotions bottled up. I understand that everyone handles loss differently, and I hope everyone finds peace one day. 

It’s been a year since the beginning of quarantine, and throughout this time we have seen a tremendous amount of loss from COVID-19, from disease to common casualties. It’s disheartening to see the struggles that people from all walks of life have experienced this past year, losing family members, friends, and even beloved celebrities. It’s particularly hard to wrap our heads around the fact that someone who was once here and a major impact of our lives is gone. Personally, I experienced the loss of my 32 year old cousin, John, to stage 4 liver cancer last year. Despite being older and wiser, the magnitude of loss and impact someone had on me was still difficult for me to fully understand. It hasn’t been easy for me to fully come to terms with his loss since he was influential to me growing up. In our sadness and sorrow, my family would meet up regularly and talk more via facetime and zoom calls. Instead of sitting in our pain, we talked positively about our experiences with him. Moreover, I bonded over the things he loved with my family and his friends; this included learning magic tricks, playing Halo on the xbox, and enjoying board games. Although it was not the traditional way to deal with grief, we were at peace knowing that the people who surrounded John also shared this fond memory of him.

Everyone experiences and handles loss differently, but here are a few ways to deal with grief and loss while promoting a healthy mental health lifestyle. Above was what worked for me personally. It may be hard at first, but once you are ready it can be healthy to create a routine and put yourself out there. If you are not ready, don’t sweat it, there are other ways to process these emotions such as journaling how you are feeling. Journaling can be a great way for you to write your emotions and feelings out without worrying about how others will perceive it. Another thing you can do, which worked well for me, is bond with others who shared fond memories of the person you lost. This allows you to process what’s happening while having the support of family, friends, and loved ones. It’s not easy to lose someone in your life and it may be difficult to process these emotions but through it all never forget to take care of yourself, and process things at your own pace. 

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Christine Audrey Cruz is a recent graduate from California Lutheran University where she obtained her bachelors of science in Biology. As a first generation student, she believes in creating free and accessible resources in the hopes of attaining equal and accessible education for all. Her passion for advocacy and altruism is displayed through her volunteer work and mentorships. She is pursuing a MD/MPH in the hopes of becoming a future physician. She also plans to create accessible and low cost clinics within her home country, the Philippines. In her free time she enjoys playing basketball, drawing, singing, hiking, and finding new restaurants to try out.

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