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How to Cope With Feelings of Loss After Kobe Bryant's Tragic Death

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The world is still in shock from the tragic loss of five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26. The crash also claimed the lives of Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and 7 other victims.

The other victims on board the helicopter were identified as Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli and her parents, John and Keri. Assistant basketball coach at Bryant’s Mamba Academy Christina Mauser, Gianna’s teammate Payton Chester and her mother Sarah, and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan were also killed in the crash.

Since news of the tragedy broke, condolences have been pouring in from fans and friends of the legendary Los Angeles Laker. From former President Barack Obama to Lakers star Lebron James, millions have paid tribute to the lives lost on Sunday.

The PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT community has continued to reflect on Bryant’s legacy with sweat sister Alicia Lowenfield saying, “He was the reason why I started watching basketball.” Another sweat sister Keri Rochelle told us she will remember him as a “hard-working dreamchaser.”

For many, the sudden loss of Bryant, his daughter, and the seven other remarkable lives hit hard. For fans, the death of beloved celebrities like Bryant can often bring about intense feelings of grief and even reopen old wounds surrounding previous losses. Below, we’re sharing a few tips to help you manage feelings of grief after a loss:

Take time to let yourself feel grief. Grief is a five-stage process that includes a variety of emotional and physical symptoms. Suppressing your emotions during your grieving process will prevent you from moving forward in a healthy way. It’s important to let yourself feel emotions as they arise and address them as this puts you on the path towards healing.

Confide in someone. You don’t have to mourn on your own. Speaking to someone about the feelings of loss you are experiencing can help you along your healing process. If you feel comfortable, reach out to a trusted friend to talk about what you are going through. Attending in-person therapy sessions or using online therapy tools like TalkSpace can also help you navigate your grief journey and work towards healing.

Don’t be afraid to unplug. When we lose a celebrity like Bryant, the media coverage surrounding their death can trigger one to experience an array of feelings. If seeing certain images and headlines online becomes overwhelming, don’t be afraid to log off. It’s always important to protect your emotional and mental health, especially during times of mourning.

Celebrate their memory. After a loss, it can be hard to talk about that person or look at the photos of them. But, reflecting on their life can be a cathartic process. Speaking about your favorite memories of the person you lost or watching old videos of them will allow you to keep their memory alive forever.

Find positive things to focus on in life. Losing a loved one or a personal inspiration like Bryant is a hard thing to endure. However, it’s important to remind yourself that there are still reasons to enjoy life. Even during the toughest moments, there are small and large things we can still be thankful for. Give yourself permission to feel grateful and excited about anything positive going on in your life. We suggest taking time to write down a daily list of the things that you are thankful for to help you regain a positive outlook on life.

PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT will continue to pray for the Bryant, Altobelli, Chester, and Zobayan families.

If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief and need to speak to someone, please call the 24/7 Your Life, Your Voice hotline at 1-800-448-3000.

SWEATLEBRITY REPORTER | Olivia Hancock is is currently a junior at Georgia State University. The 21-year-old has loved writing ever since she can remember and her passion for it has allowed her to hold the title of PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT Teen Reporter for five consecutive terms. In addition, Olivia has had the opportunity to work with Her Campus, Aeropostale and Nordstrom as an ambassador. Her writing has been published on xoNecole, 21 Ninety, Her Campus, One MusicFest, and The Life Currency. In the future, Olivia plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and pursue a professional career as a writer at a lifestyle publication.