Coping and adapting after loss

Grief affects people in different ways, and for different lengths of time. Life may not feel the same, but many people eventually begin to cope and adapt.

Starting to move on

You may continue to have days when you feel overcome by grief. But as time goes on, most people find they start to have times when their feelings are less intense and they can begin to look to the future.

Life will not be the same again following the death of your relative or friend. But you can start to enjoy life in different ways.

As time passes, most people are able to remember their relative or friend and talk about them without being overcome by their feelings. They start to enjoy things again, feel more comfortable at work and feel able to join in different activities.

Things might continue to be difficult at times, and you may sometimes feel very emotional again. This is not unusual, but it tends to happen less as time goes on.

Returning to work

Deciding when to return to work will be different for each person. Some people feel able to carry on working and take very little time off, while others need longer.

Sometimes people who return to work quickly find they need to take some time off later on. Some people may have to go back to work as they do not get paid if they are not working.

Tell your employer how you are coping and talk to them about the best way for you to return to work. You may find it easier to work from home or work part-time for a while, if possible.

It can also be helpful to talk to your employer about telling the people you work with. You can tell your employer if you are happy for them to contact you while you are off.


Social events can be very difficult after the death of your relative or friend. It can be hard if it is your partner who has died and you are not used to going to events on your own.

Going out with family or friends can also bring back memories of times when your relative or friend was with you. This can be upsetting.

You may find it helpful to start by going to social events for an hour or two, instead of staying for the whole thing. You could also ask if you can take a relative or close friend with you. People will want to help you, so it is okay to ask for support.

Some people find it helpful to join a support group. Other people join a club, do some volunteering, or start a new hobby.

Getting support for grief and bereavement

The most important thing to remember about grief is that it affects everyone in different ways. There are charities and organisations who can continue to help you cope:

Booklets and resources

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