The pain of losing a loved one seems unimaginable until it happens to you personally. People may tell you that time heals all wounds and to stay busy. Well-meaning friends and acquaintances may even offer less-thanhelpful advice from your point of view.
Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds. But as time passes, you'll feel able to perform normal routines and participate in social activities again. Be patient with yourself, and take the time you need to grieve.
Even while you grieve, you can still search for meaning and fulfilment in life. Read on to learn about five steps you can take as you work through the loss of your loved one.
1. Practice Self-Care
The term 'self-care' could mean many different things for many different people. Generally, it means to make time for and focus on things that you enjoy. Consider trying something new, like developing a hobby, going on vacation, learning a new skill or meeting new people.
Self-care also applies to your physical well-being. A healthy diet, regular exercise and a sufficient amount of sleep all go a long way in helping you feel happier. Although your loved one may be gone, it doesn't mean you should stop taking care of yourself. Your departed friend or family member would want you to continue to take care of your needs and wants even after they've passed away.
2. Focus on Relationships
Even if one relationship has ended, you can still focus on the many valuable relationships that remain. People who are grieving often find great joy and fulfilment by turning their attention to friends and family.
After the passing of a loved one, you might feel alone. But by welcoming visits from friends and family members, you'll be able to see how much they love and care for you.
Sharing love with other close friends and family doesn't replace the one you lost, but it allows you to feel grateful for and to nurture the special relationships that you do have.
3. Express Yourself
As you focus your efforts on relationships, you'll have an increased opportunity to share your feelings with others. If verbal sharing doesn't appeal to you, don't discount the idea altogether-there are many ways to express yourself.
Studies have shown that journaling can be highly beneficial to those undergoing bereavement. As you write (or type), it becomes easier to see your life from an objective point of view, which in turn offers many positive insights.
Expressing yourself lets you work through, acknowledge and deal with your feelings. If you feel more comfortable expressing thoughts and feelings to a professional grief counsellor, do so. Engaging in expressing (rather than ignoring or burying) your feelings allows you to come to terms with your loss and move on in a positive direction.
4. Schedule Activities in Advance
Staying busy often proves more difficult without the presence of your loved one. Avoid things that you know will bring you down, and opt for uplifting and enjoyable activities instead.
Take time to prepare activities with other close friends and family in advance. Schedule a weekly game night or join a friend on a daily walk. Pursue whatever activity gets you out of the house and helps you enjoy the world around you.
5. Focus on the Positive
Life is meant to be lived. And even if you never expected to be living it without your loved one or family member, it is possible. When you wake in the mornings, take time to write down two things you are grateful for. They don't have to be overly momentous or rare-you could write down something as simple as comfortable slippers.
As you continue to grieve for the loss of your loved one, take the steps listed above to find meaning in life. In turn, you can cherish the good things, even in hard times.