Grief can impact all spheres of a person’s life, making it difficult for the bereaved to return to everyday activities.
Once a social butterfly, you may find yourself cancelling or rescheduling time with loved ones as you work through the stages of grief. Perhaps even the simplest activities or errands seem impossible to perform. This is a natural response to loss. And while there’s no right way to deal with grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain you feel and eventually return to your everyday activities.
Below, we explain how to deal with grief and return to life after a loss.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Coping with the loss of someone you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. If you have an overwhelming feeling of sadness hit you during everyday activities, find a quiet place to take a break. Use this time to reflect on your feelings. Perhaps, ask a trusted friend or family member to talk to you for a few minutes to help you settle down. If you don’t allow time to attend to your feelings, grief can manifest in other ways.
To help you get back into the swing of things after you experience a loss, consider the following actions to acknowledge feelings of grief:
- Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor about your physical, emotional and mental health.
- Join a support group to connect with others who are going through or have gone through similar experiences.
- Read about grief in books and magazines, or start a journal about your own.
- Find solidarity in meditation, prayer or any other spiritual practice of your choosing.
- Engage in meaningful activities like volunteering at a local food pantry or animal shelter.
In doing so, you can begin to let go of any negative feelings, and make steps towards recovery.
2. Embrace the Void
While you can never replace the absence left by someone you loved and cared for, you can fill your life with purpose in his or her honor. For instance, if you’ve cut out activities that used to be an important part of your life, it may be time to pencil them back in. Or, consider filling the void with a special activity you used to partake in with your loved one. Visit their favorite park, coffee shop or travel spot in honor of their memory. Redefining these parts of your life can generate vitality after loss, so look for new activities to work into your schedule.
Consider: Do you have a bucket list? If so, now is the perfect time to revisit your list and cross off items as you learn to live after a loss. To help you accomplish these goals, have a friend or family member hold you accountable, but don’t rush into anything unless you’re ready to do so.
3. Let Others Help
Returning to everyday activities after loss can be overwhelming—making productivity or enjoyment nearly impossible. If you find yourself easily distracted, don’t be afraid to ask for help even with the simplest task.
In the days following a loss, ask friends, family members and neighbors to help you with recurring tasks like walking the dog, grabbing the mail and mowing the lawn. This type of help allows you the time you need to rest in a peaceful location. And remember that you may have ups and downs for weeks, months or years to come— there’s no timeline on grief.
When you feel ready, don’t fear getting back into your daily routine. Grieving the loss of a loved one is a slow process, but getting back into a routine is an important step in the journey.
Explore Grief Resources
No two people grieve the same way. At Busch, we offer grief resources to help you cope with the loss of a loved one. For a list of support groups across Northeast Ohio, visit our grief support page.