One of the hardest things to cope with is the devastating grief of losing a loved one in death. Here are 5 things you can do right now to help you cope with grief and loss.
I made it through the funeral without shedding a single tear. I thought I’d be a puddle on the floor.
Was I heartless? Did I no longer care?
Friends and family members hovered around me. I was the one who cried reading a book, listening to a song, watching a sappy commercial…what was wrong with me??
A few weeks later, in a public setting when I was trying to clearly express my feelings about a very important decision at a family meeting…I lost it.
Sobbing tears. Shaking knees that just wouldn’t hold on.
I couldn’t breathe.
I couldn’t stand.
I was a hot mess in every single way.
I didn’t know how to cope. How to put one foot in front of another. How to keep going.
The truth is, when you are looking for advice on how to deal with grief you will find a mix of answers.
The reason is that everyone copes with grief differently. What works for one person will not always work for another.
5 Things To Help You Cope With Grief
They say hindsight is 20/20. I have no idea who “they” are but I do know that looking back it is easier to identify where you went wrong and how to fix it then when you are actually in the situation.
The same is when you are the one grieving versus the one supporting someone grieving.
Both places are really hard to deal with but when you are in the supporting role you can have a clearer outlook on what needs to be done.
1. Accept Help And Support
When you are the one grieving, it is hard to see clearly what you need and when you need it, which is why asking for help is difficult.
When friends and family members offer their support be it picking up your kids from an activity or offering a listening ear, take it.
It really is okay to let your kids pitch in around the house more. It helps them feel like part of the solution, part of the family unit, and builds their confidence.
Go ahead and let your kids, family, and friends help with housework, chores, cooking, cleaning, errands and more.
Let them take things off your plate that will remove a little stress from your life.
Talk with a good friend, family member or support group.
Having a good conversation and a shoulder to cry on with someone we are comfortable with can really help. Even sending and receiving a quick text can help us feel better.
Remember it takes strength to ask and accept help. Be strong.
2. Keep Your Routines.
At first, the last thing you really want to do is hit the gym on Wednesday morning like you always do.
But sticking to your routines is important. It’s what we know. It’s what we trust. What makes us feel like us.
Get back to the routines you use for work, homeschool, sleep, exercise, and self-care sooner rather than later.
This includes getting back to your hobbies and interests. There is much comfort in returning to the things that bring you joy, connecting with those that share your interests, and having fun again.
Returning to your routines will help you feel normal again and help with the grieving process.
3. Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
Although you don’t want to drag your kids into the depths of despair you need to grieve.
Let yourself cry.
Sit still and quiet.
Give yourself time to grieve in your own way and be flexible with your own expectations of yourself.
I thought this quote about nurturing yourself when you are grieving was very true.
“…most of us are hard on ourselves when we are in mourning. We judge ourselves and we shame ourselves and we take care of ourselves last. But good self-care is essential.” – Center For Loss
It is so easy to accept, be forgiving, understanding and caring with a friend or a child who is grieving but not so much when it comes to our own grief. Our own pain. Our own sadness.
Give yourself the gift of time to grieve.
The gift of grace.
Give yourself the same love, understanding, and patience you would show others.
Realize that no one everyone grieves same and everyone needs different amounts of time to grieve. You may start to feel better after a few weeks or you may need years.
“Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.” –Help Guide
4. Take Care Of Your Needs
When under stress and grieving taking the time to eat, sleep and exercise is often the last thing you want to do.
It is necessary to look after yourself so you can continue to cope with your own grief, while supporting friends and family, helping your kids and holding down a job.
Fuel your body.
Eat small meals filled with “good for you” foods.
Even if you don’t want to. Even if it tastes like sawdust.
You need to fuel your body to keep cope with grief and stress.
Keep your meals small and simple.
Try to a mix of veggies, protein, and fruits.
Pick up or create a veggie tray. Something you can pick at through out the day.
Drink plenty of water. Add fruit or lemon need a flavor boost.
Get some sleep.
Sleep is always vital for a busy mom but actually getting some can be difficult.
Try taking a relaxing bath before bed. Doing some simple and easy stretches to help you unwind. Or turning off devices 30 minutes before bed if you are struggling.
“Checking emails or glancing at social media can also keep our brains engaged, and make it difficult to fall asleep once the lights go out.” –Hombergchiropractic.com
Be careful with the amount of caffeine you consume, I find sleepy time tea works great in the evenings with a book.
Release stress through movement.
Move every day. That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym for 30 minutes a day for a killer workout.
Keep it simple.
Park far away when running to a store so you get extra steps in.
Walk around the yard for a few minutes of fresh air and sunshine.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Exercise helps lessen negative emotions while allowing you to take a break from everyone.
It is always important to look after yourself but even more so when you are going through a very stressful and emotional time of grieving.
5. Focus On What Matters
Two days before my grandfather passed he said, “I thought I’d have more time.”
A sad but true fact is that losing someone in death can help us figure out what really matters in our life.
All of a sudden we realize that this life we have can end and end unexpectedly.
Take time to reflect on your goals both personally and as a mom.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Are you reaching your career goals? What do you need to change to reach them?
- What are your goals in parenting your child and are you reaching them?
- Are you the homeschool mom you want to be? If not, why?
- Do you have goals of taking better care of yourself?
- Are you working hard to reach your own hopes and dreams?
My grandfather was blessed to live to be old. My sister-in-law was not.
Both gave me a chance to look around and realize that I had things I wanted to do and figure out how to make those a priority.
My kids are growing up fast and losing loved ones was the kick in the pants I needed to start setting and sticking to deadlines and boundaries.
I started actively looking for ways to connect with my kids even though I’m busy. It’s not always easy to take a hard look at our life and see where we need to improve.
Warning: Make small changes.
Avoid massive decisions for a while after losing a loved one such as moving and changing jobs while under emotional stress. You are not likely to be in a good place to be making life-changing decisions.
But making small changes moving toward a bigger goal is achievable and gives you something positive to focus on.
These are 5 things you can do right now to help you cope while grieving. Remember everyone grieves differently. Pick one or two things you think will help you and try them today.
PS. Helping yourself grieve is hard, helping your children handle this big emotional feeling is harder. Here are 9 ways you can be there for them.
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