We all know it is a really tough time when somebody close to you has died. It’s important that you know how to move on with your life. It may seem difficult at first, like you’re never going to stop missing them, but you have to move on. It’s essential.
1. Know what to expect. When someone around you has died, it is normal to feel a very wide range of emotions. These emotions include shock, denial, disbelief, confusion, yearning, sadness, anger, guilt, humiliation, and l feelings of numbness. However, each person grieves differently, and it is entirely possible that you will have little to none of these symptoms. For some people, the grieving process will last a couple weeks. For others, it will take years.
- Don’t allow others to tell you to feel a certain way. It’s okay to be angry, sad, or despaired. However, it’s also okay to feel happy, and to let go when you’re ready.
2. Get support. Even if you are not the type of person who normally shares their feelings, it is important to recognize that opening up is not a sign of weakness. Talking to others will help you heal by easing your emotional burden.
- Talk to your friends and family. They will probably want to help you, but they may not know how. Let them know what you need. It’s okay to have alone time, but do not shut people who love you out.
- Join a support group. No matter how isolated you feel, you are not the only person in the world who has lost someone. Joining a support group will allow you to talk to people who have had similar experiences. Be open to listening to other peoples’ experiences and how they have coped.
- Turn to your faith. If you’re religious, draw comfort from praying, meditation, or other rituals. Talk to people in your religious community for support.
- Find a grief counselor. Therapists and counselors can help you sort through your feelings and overcome obstacles.
3. Establish new routines. The death of a loved one will bring about many new responsibilities. In addition, the old day to day tasks will change emotionally. It may be beneficial to eat dinner at a different time, shop at a different grocery store, or take a different route to work. However, you should avoid making any life-altering decisions (i.e. moving or changing jobs) directly after your loved one has died. You do not need this added stress.
4. Accept your feelings. While you may think that you can outrun grief, you can’t hide from it forever, and postponing it may lead to mental and physical health problems. The best way to move past it is to accept that it’s there.
- Express your feelings in a way that helps you, be it writing in a journal, getting involved in an organization, or making a scrapbook.
- Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Important days and milestones may bring back intense emotions.
5. Look after yourself physically. While emotional reactions are expected after a death, there are also physical symptoms to grief. Loss of appetite, nausea and stomach pain, intestinal upset, and sleep disturbances/loss of energy often present themselves when someone is experiencing grief. By taking care of your body, you will also help heal your mind. Do your best to get enough sleep and eat right. Exercise is a good way to help increase your ability to sleep and eat. In addition, it causes your body to produce endorphins, which will help lift your mood. Avoid using drugs or alcohol to “numb the pain.”
6. Be patient. The pain will eventually wane, but it is important to realize that this takes time. Do not get frustrated with yourself if it takes longer than you want it to.