By Lisa Florjancic, MA, LSW
Grief… it can take a toll a on our general outlook on life. We may think, “I’m not sure where to begin. It seems like nothing will ever get better.” Helping ourselves when we feel overloaded can be a huge task. Here are some ideas that may help you as you work your way through grief.
Allow yourself to accept expressions of caring from others. This may be difficult for those of us who like to “handle things ourselves,” or who are always helping others. Support groups may be beneficial to you. Check the center section in this newsletter to see the groups that are available.
Set small goals.
For a while, it may seem that much of life is without meaning. At times like these, there are two seemingly contradictory rules of thumb. The first is, “live one day at a time” and the second, “small goals can help.” Planning something to look forward to – like going to a movie, lunch with a friend, or a small trip next month – can help you get through the days in the immediate future. Don’t be surprised if your enjoyment of the things you have planned isn’t the same as it was before your loss. This is normal. As time passes, you may need to work on some longer-range goals to give structure and direction to your life. Seek guidance or counseling to help with this if you need to.
Hold on to hope.
You may find comfort and hope from those who have experienced a similar loss. They can describe things that have helped them. You may or may not find comfort in the same things. However, knowing that someone else has made progress in their grief journey and that time does help can give you hope that your grief will be less painful over time.
Rest, exercise and relax
. Take care of yourself. You may need an extra amount what you needed before, such as afternoon naps, hot baths, a trip, a walk in the park, or supporting a cause to help others. Any of these may give you a lift and help you feel a bit more restored.
Try to reduce or find help for the stresses in your life. Allow yourself to be close to the people you trust. Creating a routine can help foster a sense of security and predictability. In all areas, remember to take things at your own pace.
Enjoy small pleasures.
Do not underestimate the healing effects of small pleasures when you are ready. A walk, reading a book or magazine or preparing and enjoying a favorite food; all of these are small steps toward regaining your pleasure in life itself.
Allow yourself time to be alone. Take the time also to be around others with whom you connect and who will listen when you need to talk. Allow time for the feelings that go along with your loss. Acknowledging and allowing space for them will aid in healing.
Grief work is challenging, but I hope that some of the suggestions here will help. Take time this summer to enjoy the sun, breathe in the fresh air and take care of yourself. We are here with continued support.