10 Ways to Build a Support System for Grief and Loss

We all need a support system, even when we’re doing well. It’s especially important to build one if you’re facing difficult times or have suffered a loss. 

The holidays can be especially difficult for people who have lost someone they love and are still grieving, so here are some tips for building your own support system:

Coping with Grief: 9 Tips & Activities from A Therapist
Key takeaway
Building a support system after experiencing grief and loss is essential for coping and healing.
Seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can be an effective way to build a support system.
Joining support groups or finding comfort in spirituality can also provide much-needed support.
It’s important to communicate your needs to your support system and ask for help when you need it.
Building a support system takes time and effort, but it’s worth it for the comfort and healing it can provide.

It’s okay to be sad during the holidays

It’s okay to be sad during the holidays. Sadness is a normal part of grief, and it’s okay to let yourself feel it. You don’t have to pretend everything is okay while you’re grieving.

It’s also okay to ask people not to visit you or call until a certain time, like after Thanksgiving. If someone wants to lend their support but doesn’t know how, giving them ideas of what they can do helps: “I could really use some casserole dishes in my freezer! 

Do you think your mom would be willing?” Or “I need some time for myself right now, but I would love for us get together once things are back on track.” The best way anyone can help with this is by acknowledging that people grieve differently; there’s no one right way or wrong way of supporting someone who’s lost someone close to them

Building a support system after experiencing grief and loss can be difficult, but finding strength in community can make a big difference. Check out our guide on how to build a support system after a loss to learn more about the benefits of community during times of grief.” – Finding Strength in Community: How to Build a Support System After a Loss

Acknowledge your loss

Acknowledging your loss is the first step to healing. When we ignore our grief, it can build up and cause health problems, like depression and anxiety.

Acknowledging your loss doesn’t mean forgetting about your loved one it’s actually quite the opposite! By acknowledging their life and how they impacted yours, you’re giving them the recognition they deserve.

Acknowledging yourself as a person who has suffered a loss can help you move forward into a healthier state of mind.

Ways to Acknowledge Your LossDescription
Memorialize your loved oneCreate a memorial in honor of your loved one. Consider making a scrapbook, planting a tree, or dedicating a bench or plaque in their memory.
Attend a support groupJoining a support group can help you connect with others who are also grieving and provide a supportive environment where you can share your feelings and experiences.
Write about your feelingsKeeping a journal or writing letters to your loved one can help you process your grief and reflect on your memories with them.
Seek professional helpIf you’re struggling with intense and long-lasting feelings of grief, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can help you develop coping strategies and work through your emotions.

Don’t compare your grief journey to others

A common mistake that people who are grieving make is comparing their grief journey to others. Grief is a normal and natural response to loss, and everyone grieves differently. 

Don’t compare your experience of loss to anyone else’s.

It’s normal for folks who have recently experienced the death of a loved one to feel sad during the holidays. 

Not only are you grieving the loss of someone special in your life but now you’re also missing out on some of what makes this time of year so magical – like being with friends and family, preparing meals together, decorating your home or giving gifts (or receiving them). It can be very overwhelming!

While it’s important to take care of yourself during this difficult time, try not to isolate yourself from those around you too much; reaching out for support from others who understand what you’re going through will help ease some of the burden off your shoulders as well as provide an outlet for emotions that might otherwise build up inside until it becomes too much for one person alone (i.e., “bottling up”). 

You can always find comfort in talking about memories with those closest around us whenever we need healing from grief.”

During times of grief, having a support system can provide much-needed comfort and assistance. Learn more about the power of a support system during times of grief and how it can help you on your grief journey.” – The Power of a Support System During Times of Grief

Join a bereavement group

Support groups can help you feel less alone and learn how to cope with grief. They can also help you learn how to talk about your loved one. 

Support groups will give you the chance to share experiences with other people who have gone through similar losses, which can be very helpful if you are feeling alone and isolated because of your loss.

You may also benefit from talking with other people who have lost a loved one, but they may not have experienced the same type of loss as yours so it’s important that support groups don’t become an echo chamber where everyone talks about their own grief but no one listens or offers advice or suggestions for coping strategies.

It’s useful for group members to take turns leading discussions or bringing snacks so that everyone has a chance at being heard by others.

Support groups are also potential places for making new friends who share similar experiences and interests, which is especially helpful if those interests include something like yoga or hiking activities that might help reduce stress levels over time!

Grief can be an isolating experience, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Check out our guide on how to build a support system for tips and strategies on how to find the help and support you need.” – Don’t Go Through Grief Alone: How to Build a Support System

Talk about your loved one with friends and family

Talk about your loved one.

Talking about your loved one with friends and family is an excellent way to build a support system for grief and loss. It can help you still feel connected to the person you lost, while also giving you the opportunity to share memories with people who care about you. 

You can also talk about your loved one with a therapist or in a support group, grief counselor or clergy member. 

All these interactions are ways of connecting with others who understand what it’s like to lose someone close and they’ll remind you that many people understand what it’s like to grieve and heal after loss.

Ways to Talk About Your Loved OneDescription
Share stories and memoriesTalking about your loved one’s life and the memories you created together can be a healing experience. Share stories and anecdotes with friends and family members.
Celebrate their lifePlan a celebration of life event or a memorial service to honor your loved one’s life and legacy. Invite family and friends to share their memories and stories.
Create a memory boardCreate a memory board, scrapbook, or photo album with pictures, keepsakes, and mementos that remind you of your loved one.
Talk to a counselor or therapistSometimes it’s hard to talk about your feelings of grief with friends and family. Consider seeing a counselor or therapist who can provide a safe and supportive environment to talk about your loved one.

Seek out social support

There are many ways to seek out social support. You can talk to friends and family, join a bereavement group, find a therapist or counselor. If you have access to the Internet, there are also many online communities that offer support.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these options:

Talk to friends and family – If you don’t already have people in your life that you can reach out to when feeling sad or overwhelmed by grief, this may be the place for you to start. 

This may seem like an obvious choice; but sometimes we need outside validation from others in order for us to experience our own emotions fully. 

Having someone listen while we tell them what happened can help us feel more understood and less alone in our experience.

Join a bereavement group – Joining an existing group that meets regularly is another excellent way of getting support during times of loss and grief. 

Groups provide an opportunity not only for sharing feelings with other people who have experienced similar losses but also for learning about how other people cope with their pain on an ongoing basis (and hopefully finding some inspiration).

Creating a supportive network after experiencing grief and loss can help provide comfort and healing. Learn more about tips and strategies for creating a supportive network to help you on your grief journey.” – Creating a Supportive Network After a Loss: Tips and Strategies

Accept that you might feel sad at unexpected times

You might feel sad at unexpected times. You may notice that you are suddenly overcome with sadness when you hear a song or see someone else’s child, for example. 

This is normal. It is part of the grieving process, and it can help you move forward when you don’t have time to think about it ahead of time.

Remember that there are no right or wrong ways to grieve; everyone goes through different emotions at different times during their healing process. 

If this happens to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something has gone wrong it simply means that some thoughts and feelings related to your loss have emerged unexpectedly in response to a trigger such as an association with your loved one (such as hearing their favorite song), which could trigger other emotions associated with grief (such as longing).

Ways to Accept Unexpected Feelings of SadnessDescription
Be kind to yourselfGrief can be a long and difficult journey. Be compassionate and kind to yourself as you navigate your emotions.
Practice self-careTake care of your mind and body by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
Lean on your support systemReach out to friends, family, or a support group when you’re struggling with feelings of sadness.
Give yourself timeRemember that everyone’s grief journey is unique. Give yourself time to process your feelings and adjust to this new normal.

Ask for help if you feel wiped out, are having trouble sleeping or have other physical symptoms of grief

If you’re struggling to cope with your grief, ask for help. A lot of people don’t want to admit when they’re not doing well because they think it means they aren’t strong enough or that their feelings are wrong. 

This isn’t true it’s actually pretty common for someone who experiences the loss of a loved one to experience intense emotions and have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating on things they used to find easy. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you can’t take care of yourself right now, reach out! You don’t need to figure everything out by yourself; there are people out there who want (and are able) to lend a hand. 

Here are some ways this could look:

  • Consider asking a friend if they’ll check in on you every day at lunchtime (or whenever is most convenient).
  • Call in sick from work if it feels too hard for your boss(es) or coworkers at that moment.
  • Ask someone else whose loved ones died recently how he/she got through his/her grieving process—this person might be able seek support from other people as well!

Having a support system is essential when it comes to navigating grief and loss. Check out our guide on the importance of having a support system to learn more about how it can help you during this difficult time.” – Grief and Loss: The Importance of Having a Support System

Don’t isolate yourself. Instead, reach out

It is natural to want to retreat when you are grieving and in pain, but isolation can make your grief worse. Reach out to others who will be able to listen, offer support and give you a sense of connection with others who are also experiencing loss.

Reaching out helps us feel less alone during this difficult time. You are not the only one going through this experience there are many people who have experienced similar losses during their lives or perhaps even yesterday! 

The more people we connect with on such an emotional level, the better equipped we will be for our own journey through grief and loss.

Isolation can be unhealthy for your mental health because it limits opportunities for positive interactions with others in your life (such as family members, friends or co-workers).

When we do not build connections with other people on a regular basis especially those outside of our immediate family it may result in feelings of loneliness that could worsen over time if left untreated (and lead you down a path towards depression).

Take care of yourself physically. Exercise and eat well. Get enough sleep

A healthy body is critical for a healthy mind. Exercise helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel good. 

Healthy eating can help too! It’s also important to get enough sleep and take time to relax whether this means taking a bubble bath or going on a long walk in the park, it’s important not to forget about taking care of your physical health as well as your mental health.


Grief can be a lonely journey, but you don’t have to go through it alone. By building a support system and taking care of yourself, you can create the best possible environment for healing.

Further reading

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:


What is grief and loss?

Grief and loss refer to the emotional and physical responses that people experience after a significant loss, such as the death of a loved one, a breakup, or the loss of a job.

What are the stages of grief?

The stages of grief were originally proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences these stages in a linear fashion.

How long does grief last?

Grief is a highly individual process, and there is no set timeline for how long it lasts. Some people may begin to feel better after a few weeks or months, while others may experience grief for years.

How can I support someone who is grieving?

One of the most important things you can do to support someone who is grieving is to simply be there for them and listen. You can also offer practical support, such as helping with household tasks or running errands. It’s important to avoid saying things like “I know how you feel” or “It will get better” as these can be unhelpful and dismissive.

When should I seek professional help for grief?

If you are experiencing intense and prolonged grief that is interfering with your ability to function, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. Similarly, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s important to seek help right away.