10 Steps in Coping with the Death of a Loved One

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There is nothing more painful than the death of someone you loved. Every part of your being feels tired and sore. Your emptiness has no place to process this event. You have lost the motivation for your own life. And you wonder if you’ll ever find happiness again. Fortunately, most people do, and in the meantime, there are specific steps one can take to alleviate these hardships. Here are 10 for you to consider.

1. Allow Yourself to Grieve

You will struggle to heal if you don’t let nature take its course. Surrender to your loss and be vulnerable. Attend the funerals, visit their final resting place, and let yourself sink into sadness. Break down. It’s normal, and you are allowed. Grieving is as much about giving yourself a little grace as it is about remembering your loved one.

2. Talk About It.

Sometimes opening up about your feelings can be difficult, but there is no value in pretending that you are ok. In fact, various studies have warned that bottling your emotions up can even lead to an untimely death yourself.

3. Be Around Your Friends

Sometimes friends can grant us an outside perspective. Sometimes friends are nothing more than a healthy distraction. But either way, isolation will only breed more loneliness. It’s ok to remember the good in the world. It’s ok to laugh.

4. Take Some Time

When everything reminds you of your lost love, it can be impossible to concentrate on anything else. This is why you need a change of environment. Go stay at a friend’s place or, better yet, go traveling. Seek out the positivity. Breathe new air. This is not about running away, it’s about exploring what the world still has to offer and creating new rituals for yourself.

5. Get Physical

Understandably, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, it’s worth noting that physical activity produces happy hormones (like serotonin) to help counteract those stress hormones (like cortisol). Go for a walk in nature to free your thoughts, participate in yoga or meditation, and look around for other expert tricks in managing cortisol levels.

6. Don’t Numb the Pain

The temptation to dull your senses with alcohol or drugs may seem justified, but these temporary solutions often lead to worse problems. Pushing the pain away won’t make it disappear, and intoxication itself can leave you open to stupid decisions. You can’t escape this, so why add a hangover to your grief?

7. Keep Yourself Busy

Distracting the mind is the easiest way of forcing time to go faster, but make sure that whatever you’re focusing on is worthy of your brain power. Try to find a new hobby or resurrect an old one, choosing anything that brings you some joy and purpose during this complicated healing process. Suggestions include gardening, knitting, card games, learning a new language, or picking up an instrument.

8. Utilize Your Creativity

Some of the best art ever made was inspired by the pain you are feeling right now. Take this difficult energy, and channel it towards a creative outlet, manipulating your suffering into something productive and pleasing. You don’t even need to be artistic or share your work with anyone. The idea is to simply express yourself through a medium which you feel most comfortable with (for example poetry, painting, or a journal).

9. Seek Help

If your inner turmoil becomes unbearable, seek help from a medical professional, as they have studied many ways to navigate this exact agonizing process. Alternatively, you could also join a support group of individuals currently going through a similar experience. These people may even find as much relief in you as you find in them.

10. It Takes Time

Finally, it is important to accept that your emotional disturbances are not going to vanish overnight. This could very well be a long journey, but with a little patience, the suffering should slowly become more tolerable, day by day. Perhaps you’ll never feel completely normal again, but you will learn to appreciate the hole in your heart, as here lies the proof that this person left a valuable place inside of you.

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