Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we go through, and when the loss involves a parent or other close family member, going back to your normal schedule can seem nearly impossible. Learning how to cope with and manage your grief is important during this time, especially if you have children who are depending on you to be strong.
Fortunately, there are some ways to learn to cope with grief and everything that comes along with it, such as depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and stress. Knowing the best ways to handle those feelings--and how to overcome them--will allow you to heal and be able to move forward. Don’t think of it as “getting over” the death of a loved one, but rather, accepting it and coming to terms with all the ways your life has changed.
Here are a few of the best ways to ensure you can do just that.
Support from friends and colleagues is so important during this difficult time. Talk to the people you care about and let them know what’s going on and what you need. Many people want to help a friend who is grieving but don’t know how; be specific and ask for things instead of waiting for them to come to you.
You may want to consider attending group therapy or seeing a counselor, as well. Having the support of people who have been through a similar event and understand how you’re feeling can really help you start to heal.
Take care of yourself
Practicing self-care is one of the most difficult and essential things to do after the death of a beloved family member or close friend; difficult because you have so many things on your mind that it’s hard to even think about focusing on yourself, and essential because that is precisely what you must do in order to maintain your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Eating is often difficult for individuals who are experiencing grief, but it’s imperative that you make sure you get a little something at mealtimes. Many people will bring food after a funeral, so take advantage of the prepared dishes and lay them out for easy access so that your family members won’t forget to get something in their stomachs. Not only do you need the fuel, it’s also important for your emotional well-being not to go hungry.
Sleep is another activity that can be difficult after such a major loss, but you need your rest. Let your family members know that anyone who feels tired is free to lie down after the services rather than sitting around talking and receiving guests. The family needs to focus on themselves now, including you.
Talk to your boss
Your company may have a specific bereavement policy regarding time off--how much you can take and whether it will be paid--so it’s important to talk to your boss about your needs.
Depending on your line of work, you may be able to work remotely from home for a while, or you may ask if someone else can share your workload so that you can reduce your hours temporarily. Going back to work can be rough, and if you’re not ready, going back too soon can lead to issues with your productivity and ability to be present.
Keep communication open
A major loss within a family can cause disruption in relationships, so it’s important to ensure that no one feels left out of the decision-making process. Keep the dialogue open with your family members and keep in mind that conflict will only make the entire process worse for everyone involved. For instance, it may be important to you to set up the arrangements in a very precise way, while your sister thinks they should be done differently. As long as they are within the boundaries of what your loved one wanted, and as long as they are reasonable changes, let it go.
Stressing over these issues will only make things harder on you and your loved one.
Dealing with grief can be extremely difficult, and there is no handbook or guidelines for how long it lasts. Grief is sneaky, and it can come back when you least expect it. Learning how to cope, however, will help you get through this hard time and move forward in a peaceful way.
This article is written and generously contributed by Julie Morris. Reach Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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