Dhriti talks about the activities that support her in dealing with grief.
– Dhriti

In July 2023, my world came crashing down when I lost my 18-year-old cousin. She was my companion in joyous moments, the person I celebrated birthdays, festivals, and family gatherings with. Our bond may not have been the closest, but it was undeniably special to the both of us. 
As I prepared to move to the UK in September 2023 for a master’s degree in Marketing and Brand Management, my family and I were excited about the upcoming journey. She, too, shared in the excitement, making plans for outings and dinners before my departure. Unfortunately, fate took an unexpected turn, and we didn’t realize she would be the one leaving us so soon, and it turned out to be forever. Moving abroad felt like an exciting journey before, but after this heart-wrenching loss, the idea of moving away from family took on a disheartening tone. The excitement of new opportunities was overshadowed by the difficulty of being away from the support of loved ones during this tough period. And little did I know that grief would take control of my emotions in unpredictable ways. 
Shortly after this heart-wrenching loss, I started a new chapter of my life by moving to the UK to pursue a master’s degree. Little did I know that grief would take control of my emotions in unpredictable directions. People often say, “Time heals everything,” but my pain hasn’t eased or soothed by the months that have passed. For me, I’m still struggling with the pangs of grief – like those unpredictable waves that suddenly spring to the shore and wipe you off your feet when tentatively paddling at the sand. The bittersweet experience of scrolling through Instagram hits me when I come across a relatable reel that prompts me to share it with my favourite cousin, only to realize she’s no longer here. The ache in my heart intensifies during celebrations, especially birthdays, serving as vivid reminders of her absence. In this journey of grief, I have discovered a few ways to help me cope and gradually find my way back to normal day-to-day life. Here are some practices that might resonate with others navigating their own grief: 
Talk to family: Share your feelings with your family. 
If the lost one is a family member, your family might well be feeling the same pain that you are. They might understand and can support you through tough times. Sharing everyday details and engaging in light conversations with my family have proven to be crucial in navigating this painful journey. Even though we have virtual interactions, they understand and provide the support I need to survive during these tough times.
Quality time with friends: Spend time with friends. 
They can be a source of comfort and distraction. Spending time with friends has been a comforting way for me to cope during tough times. Whether we go for a walk, share a meal, or enjoy common hobbies, these shared experiences lighten the emotional load. My friends provide much-needed emotional support, making me feel less alone in dealing with grief. Making new friends who truly care has created a supportive environment where I feel understood and accepted, which has made a significant difference for me.
Self-Care Rituals: Do things that make you feel good
A bath, meditation, or just some quiet time. Engage in activities that bring you joy and comfort—whether it’s a relaxing bath, meditation, or simply some quiet time. Personally, writing has been therapeutic, helping me ease pain and release emotional burdens. Additionally, activities like cooking, reading, listening to music, going on walks, or even taking a nap have proven beneficial in supporting my well-being. Explore various options to discover what works best for you during challenging times.
Exploring new activities
Trying something new can be a good distraction. It shifts your focus and helps you grow.  Going for walks helps clear your mind. Nature has a way of calming your emotions. For me, participating in writing competitions, volunteering, and attending various university workshops have proven essential for both distraction and personal enrichment. These activities not only provide a much-needed break from difficulties but also offer valuable opportunities for individual growth and development.
Reminiscing and Honouring Memories: Think about the happy moments you shared
For some, especially during a recent loss, it can be extremely difficult to reflect on the life of someone who is no longer with us. However, to others, it can keep their memory alive in your heart. Photos are a great way to look back on the times you shared with others, and doing this with others allows you to share wonderful stories along the way. What I have learnt so far is that there’s no need to rush the grieving process so this might be something you feel you want to revisit at a much later time. As the grieving process continues, remembering the good times allows us to move beyond our final memories of the loss of a person but to celebrate their life instead. 
Remember, this is a personal process and everyone grieves in a unique way. Take it one day at a time, acknowledge your emotions, and seek help if need be. Just remember, healing may be gradual, but you’ll find your way back to the light. 
Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.
I’m an international student pursuing my Masters in Marketing and Brand Management at Nottingham Trent University. I’m sharing my grief journey to support others dealing with loss and the challenges of studying abroad, offering comfort and strength.

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