When you lose someone you love, it’s likely you’ll experience denial, anger, bargaining and depression before accepting what happened so you can move on with your life — but this doesn’t mean you can’t manage your grief until you reach the finish line. In fact, it’s crucial to adopt self-care during this difficult period to avoid long-term problems.
The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you and not the easiest thing. And when you start to make unhealthy choices, it’s important to learn how to be strong enough to make changes.
The Grieving Process
After someone dies, people may try to throw a lot of advice your way. Here’s what you need to know:
- Ignoring the pain will only make things worse in the long run.
- You’ll feel better if you show your true feelings to others instead of putting on a fake brave face.
- There’s not specific time for grieving; the time frame is different for everyone.
- Moving on with life does not mean you’re forgetting about your loved one. In fact, the memories are likely to shape who you are as a person in the future.
Talk to a licensed professional
While it’s important to lean on friends and family during this time, there’s nothing wrong with seeking outside professional help. Some issues a therapist can help you with include: how to take care of yourself and family, accepting your feelings, talking through the death of a loved one, and reaching out to others who are also grieving as a form of therapy. If severe depression is detected, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants — but it’s best to try to work through the grieving process naturally as to avoid dependency issues that have a tendency to create a suspended sense of reality.
Take care of your physical and mental well-being
Don’t turn to drugs or alcohol to numb your pain. You’ll only feel a temporary boost and run the risk of ruining relationships and causing long-term damage to your health. Instead, force yourself to participate in an exercise routine that you enjoy — institute the help of a workout buddy if you’re having problems getting motivated. Eating a balanced diet and getting adequate amounts of sleep (but not sleeping the day away) will help you maintain a healthy emotional and physical well-being.
Do something you love
While it may be hard to engage in activities you traditionally loved, engaging in an activity that you’re good at can give you a major self-esteem boost while taking the edge off your grief.
Have a good cry
Contrary to what you may think, crying does not make you weak. In fact, studies prove having a tear fest can have positive effects such as the release of toxins, stress reduction, improved mood, vision, communication and even bacteria-fighting results.
Honor the legacy of the person you lost
There’s no need to sweep the death of the loved one under the carpet because you’re grieving. You can still honor the life they had and the person they were by doing acts such as setting up a charity in their name (perhaps something tied to how they passed), planting a tree in their honor, incorporating ashes into fireworks, naming a star after them, placing a memorial plaque on a special bench at their favorite spot — even your backyard — and much more. There’s no right or wrong way to honor someone providing it helps you cope.
The loss of life is a fact of life, and it’s never an easy process. It’s important to remember that you’re still living, and there are many people who love and depend on you. Take things a day at a time and create small goals that lead up to the big goal of acceptance.
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