Recipes for Resilience: When I Say “I’m Fine,” I Might Be Masking My Feelings

Welcome to the next installment of our monthly series, Recipes for Resilience, meant to inspire you to reflect, connect, and develop tools that help you on your grief and loss journey. This month’s recipe is called When I Say “I’m Fine,” I Might Be Masking My Feelings. It’s a look at the different ways we might mask our emotions of grief, even without meaning to. Masking is a coping tool that might help us get through daily life, but it can also cause us to lose touch with what we’re actually feeling. It can put us in survival mode.

The ingredients for masking might be familiar to many of us. They are just some of the behaviors and physical manifestations of keeping our true feelings behind a wall. For this recipe, notice which of these resonate, and which other ways you might be masking your grief. 


  • Staying calm through the anger
  • Smiling through the guilt
  • No breaks, despite the anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Little to no appetite
  • Not sleeping well
  • Keeping others away

Next it’s time for the directions, the exercise, reflection, or thought experiment to add to your resilience toolkit. In this month’s recipe, the exercise below helps us recognize what ways we are masking our grief, which of those serve us and which of those don’t, and how to take the mask off, when we’re ready. 


  1. Remind yourself it’s okay to not be okay.
  2. Scan your body and your mind. Grief is physical, emotional, and spiritual.
  3. When someone asks how you are, answer in whatever way is comfortable for you. Use their question to check in honestly with yourself.
  4. Notice how each day changes, or doesn’t.
  5. Give yourself permission to take the mask of “I’m fine” off. Find a time and space to let it go.
  6. Repeat as needed.

Save the graphic of this recipe to refer to when you need it, or share it with a friend and talk about it together. Each month, you can find a new Recipe for Resilience on our blog or on our Instagram.