1) Give Yourself Time
Let your heart not your head determine how you feel. Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace.
2) Share Your Thoughts
Allow yourself to think and feel thoughts and emotions when they arise. Discuss these feelings with someone you trust.
3) Take Care of Yourself
Rest, Exercise, & Diet – Grief can leave you physically exhausted. It is important to take care of yourself and give yourself the extra strength you need.
Be spontaneous. Write whatever seems important at the moment. Express your anger, sadness and memories. Ask yourself: What do I notice about my grief today? What is getting easier, what is still hard? How are people responding to my grief? What would I want my loved one to know? Journaling can help lessen the pain you are feeling.
5) Write a Letter to the Person Who Died
This is an opportunity to tell your loved one how much you love or miss them, or how angry, sorry or sad you are. Maybe you didn’t have the chance to say goodbye or heal an old wound, always imagining that there would be plenty of time.
6) Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Memories can help you stay connected to the person who died. You can wear something that belonged to them (i.e. a favorite hat, ring, or sweater). It can give you a sense of comfort to hold or touch something of theirs. You can place pictures and special mementos into a scrapbook or memory box. Remember, if memories are too painful right now, then it is okay to put them away for a while and return to them later when the time is right.
Crying is just one expression of grief. There is a saying, “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul”. Tears are not a sign of weakness. If you feel like crying, let your tears flow.
8) Share Your Memories
Sharing memories with others can help you maintain a sense of connection to the person who died. Retelling stories and reminiscing about days gone by can help keep your loved one an ongoing part of your day-to-day life.
9) Find Support
Grief can be very isolating. Whether you speak to someone individually or join a grief support group, reach out and find people who know how to listen. This can help normalize the myriad of feelings you are experiencing.
10) Be Gentle With Yourself
It may be 5 days, 5 months, 5 years or longer since your loved one died, and you may still experience moments of grief so intense they take you by surprise. While these grief bursts may occur from time to time, you will continue to heal. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you move forward into a full and meaningful life.
© OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center