Few things in life are as draining as the death of a close friend or family member. Restoring yourself to normal may seem an impossible feat, but with patience and healthy goals, you can find a way to cope with your grief.
Identify and Address Your Feelings
In the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, your emotions may be reeling. You will likely pass through the five classic grieving stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The process is unique to every individual and no two people grieve the same way.
Consider keeping a daily journal to provide a safe outlet for your deepest feelings. Journaling can help prioritize your worries and challenges as well as track symptoms of other underlying issues. Use the time to devise ways to reduce your stress. When you can name your stress triggers, it may be easier to avoid painful situations or take practical action to manage tension. If forming words becomes too difficult, try sketching your feelings.
Devote Time to Proper Self-Care
Depression can lead to poor health choices and even lower morale. Create a balanced schedule that incorporates caring for your physical health in the following ways:
- Diet: You might binge on junk food occasionally for comfort, but avoid letting unhealthy consumption become a pattern. Learn what a balanced diet is for you from a qualified health care professional and adopt clean eating.
- Sleep: Most people need about seven to eight hours of sleep. Plan a consistent bedtime to keep your mind and body at their peak. This includes taking time to decompress at the end of the day, possibly preventing sleepless nights.
- Sunlight: Studies suggest that sunlight can be a powerful boost to mental health by keeping serotonin levels balanced. If you work indoors, dedicate time daily to enjoy the sun and fresh air.
- Exercise: Physical activity promotes healthy blood flow and a rush of endorphins and mood-boosting dopamine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week.
Surround Yourself With Good Associates
Isolating oneself in challenging times is a natural reaction. However, humans are social creatures, and warm friends are needed to uplift a person who is down. If you go more than a couple of days without friendly human interaction, do what you can to connect with a companion. While social media has its benefits, you’ll probably be better served by a phone call, video chat, or personal visit.
Volunteer to Help Others
One of the best ways to take your mind off your suffering is to help others. Many organizations, like NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties are looking for volunteers to aid the bereaved in coping with sorrow. You benefit from reminders of practical steps to fight excessive grief, and you implant the lessons deeper within yourself when you share them with fellow grievers.
Volunteering could be a significant source of strength if you were a caregiver for the deceased. You may feel a loss of purpose without the routine you had of caring for your family member or friend. Assisting others can restore that meaning to your life. Remember that caregivers can suffer burnout and need a break. Prioritize the previous lessons on self-care so you don’t wear out.
There are no shortcuts to overcoming the crippling grief of losing a loved one. By taking incremental steps to care for yourself, you can learn to function and find joy in life again.
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