The death of someone we love is one of the most distressing experiences of our lives. We can be overwhelmed with sadness and struggle to know what is ‘normal’ and what to do to get through it. Here are five practical things you can do that can really help during a time of grieving.
1. Find your safe place
You may find comfort in a familiar place, like a certain walk you regularly do, or a favourite beach or coffee shop to visit. You may create a protected place of solitude where you live, somewhere you can be without having to doanything. If you live with other people, let them know when you need some space and quiet. For some, watching a loved TV series or film or listening to our favourite music can be a safe place for us to retreat for a while.
2. Identify your safe people
Hopefully there will be a small number of people in your life that you can be completely vulnerable and open with. Stay in contact with these people. You may not be able to, nor should you feel the need to, be open and share deeply with everyone! You may have to risk some people not understanding why you are a bit withdrawn, but hopefully if they think about it, they will understand. You have to prioritise spending time with your ‘safe’ people.
3. Be gentle with yourself
This is a significantly hard time to be in. Our emotions can be raw and our thinking fragile. Try not to put yourself in a situation where you need to make big decisions at this time. Be kind to yourself. Look after yourself. Eat, rest, and take some exercise. Watch out for the negative, critical inner voice that can play in in our heads. If you feel able, give some time to activities or hobbies that you enjoy.
4. Keep a journal
For some, jotting down thoughts, memories, questions, and struggles can be very helpful. You could write it just for yourself – no one else needs to see it, unless you want them to. This means you don’t have to keep it neat and well written… just scribble whatever you feel like. You can even get creative if that’s how you are wired, and write poems, prayers, do drawings, and write out Bible verses or quotes you may come across that give you comfort.
5. Talk to your GP and pastoral minister
If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel you are struggling, or even if you realise it would help you to see someone… do talk to your doctor. Your GP can redirect you to counsellors or other services that could help you. If you are a member of a church, you could also talk to your local minister and ask for prayer or other practical support.
Please feel free to read our other articles about grief which will help you understand what you are going through.