When a loved one passes away, the tasks you need to complete are often overwhelming. There are many decisions you will need to make, including the details of the service and the execution of the deceased’s final wishes. Performing these tasks when you are still grieving is very difficult. If your loved one had an end-of-life plan before passing away, this may make the practical processes easier. However, no matter the situation, it is critical to take care of yourself during these difficult times.
Immediately Following the Loss
The death of a loved one, whether expected or unexpected, can throw you into a cycle of self-neglect. It is difficult to remember to take care of yourself when you are dealing with a loss. However, although it is often neglected, the practice of self-care is critical during this time. There are many excellent resources available to help you look out for yourself. Lantern explains the importance of self-care in the immediate post-death space and lists important considerations to help you maintain your health during this time.
- Sharing Responsibilities – Do not be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need help planning the service, notifying relatives and friends, or with any other tasks, ask your friends and family for help. Often, you will find that people want to help, they just do not know how to ask.
- Eating – Make sure you are eating regularly. You should also try to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods to keep your immune system functioning well.
- Sleeping – Although it may be difficult, try to get plenty of good, quality sleep. The more well-rested you are, the better you will be able to make decisions and perform the necessary tasks.
- Exercising – Getting outside for a walk, run, or bike ride can do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing during challenging times. Yoga, a weightlifting session, or another indoor exercise activity can also boost your mood and energy level.
One of the most important things to remember about grief is that it is different for everyone. There is no set timeline for when you will feel better, nor is there one right way to approach grief and recovery. However, some techniques can help in the weeks and months following the loss of a loved one.
- Counseling – Speaking with a professional can help you work through your feelings about the loss.
- Friends / Family – Talking to friends and family is a good way to reminisce about the shared memories you have of the lost loved one.
- Hobbies – Finding things you enjoy doing can help you take your mind off the loss.
- Laughter – Watching a funny television show or movie, or reading a funny book can raise your spirits.
- Meditation – Meditating can help you relax and focus your mind.
- Honoring the Deceased – Holidays may be very difficult after a loss. One recommendation you might consider is raising money for or making a donation to a charity in your loved one’s name on important anniversaries, such as their birthday.
The loss of a loved one can be very difficult to navigate. Fortunately, there are practices and resources to make the grief process a little easier. Taking care of yourself immediately after the loss is very important. You should not try to do everything alone, but instead, ask family and friends for help. It is also crucial to remember that there is no limit to grief. Everyone has a different timeline for recovering from a loss. The techniques you choose to help your healing process along can include counseling, hobbies, meditation, and celebrating the deceased on special days.