Moving Beyond Grief When
You’ve Lost a Loved One
It goes without saying that losing a loved one can be absolutely heartbreaking. It can feel as though your entire world has been destroyed. Just trying to perform everyday tasks becomes an ordeal. Some days you feel better while others feel as though all the joy has been sapped from your soul.
The reality of grieving is that it’s a multi-stage process and everyone takes a different amount of time to move through each stage. Knowing that you just need to give yourself time will make the whole process much easier. Even though it can seem overwhelming to try to carry on with life, just focusing on one at a time and remembering all the wonderful times you shared with that special person can help you to get through the worst of the grieving process.
Finding Joy In the Small Things
The relentlessness of life itself can be the most challenging part of grieving. Life just carries on while you wish you could stop everything else and just focus on your loss. However, keeping yourself busy and active is highly recommended by psychologists. Trying to keep your life as normal as possible can go a long way towards reaching a place of healing.
One highly effective way of working through the grieving process is to try and think of something each day that you are grateful for. It could be anything, large or small – a pet you love, having food to eat, your job, or even something as simple as breathing fresh air in the morning. Daily gratitude journaling is another incredibly powerful tool to help build on that positivity. Just the simple act of putting pen to paper and jotting down a few thoughts has the power to lift your mood.
Everyday there is something to be grateful for and deepening our awareness of the world around us which we so often take for granted can have a tremendously positive impact on our life as a whole.
Thinking of Happy Memories of Your Loved One
It’s all too easy to dwell on the ending of a loved one’s life, especially if it was a slow and lingering illness or a traumatic passing, but that doesn’t do justice to that person’s life. The ending is just a tiny part of anyone’s life. Remember why you loved that person in the first place; think of all the fun things you did and all the joyous times you shared together. Looking at old photo albums can help you to remember those times. Try to feel the feelings you felt during the times you were together instead of dwelling on the pain of that person no longer being with you.
One beautiful way to remember a loved one who passed away is through the ancient tradition of lacrymatory. Lacrymatory is the practice of capturing tears in a vial and keeping them displayed in a prominent place. Hand-made tear bottles are a beautiful symbol of love and a touching celebration of a person’s life. Remembering tears of joy and tears of sadness is a powerful way to keep your loved one close to your heart.
Morning Rituals and Exercise
It’s very common to become sedentary when grieving or going through with any kind of depression. You can feel as though you have no energy to do the simplest of tasks.
The morning is the most important part of the day. If you start the day positively it’s much more likely to remain that way and you’re also more likely to be resilient whenever challenges arise later in the day.
Morning rituals are very powerful tools. Whatever your morning ritual consists of (whether it is meditation, stretching, running, quiet journaling or anything else), make sure it’s a positive experience. Avoid social media, the news or anything that’s likely to be triggering.
Don’t try and do too much too soon. It’s better to start with small mini-habits and build on them over time. We are all creatures of habit and those habits ultimately control our behavior more than we might like to admit. Creating good habits is very hard but so is breaking them.
Another incredibly powerful healing tool is exercise. When your body gets moving and releasing endorphins, you get a natural “high” and will feel better. Again, you don’t have to start big. Just a short run for a few blocks or some cardio in the morning can make a big difference. Making it a habit is the most important thing. You’ll probably find that it’s hard to get started but once you do, you’ll feel so much better. There are countless YouTube videos and blog articles about all kinds of different exercises. Find something you enjoy doing that also pushes you a little to get a little fitter each time.
Getting Support From Others
If you don’t have a large support group of friends and family, grieving can feel even more isolating. The feeling of being alone can be the worst part of grieving, but the reality is that there are countless others in the same situation as you. Getting outside of yourself and taking part in meetups, events or volunteering is a fantastic way of turning sadness into joy. Our well-being as humans ultimately depends on the connections we make with others and when we help others, we also help ourselves.
A little honesty can go a long way with people. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to say to others that you just lost someone close to you and are going through a difficult time. That takes a lot of courage to do but nearly everyone will be incredibly supportive and some people may then tell you about their stories of own grief. It’s easy to feel that you’re the only one in the world who’s feeling this way but everyone faces grief at some stage in life. Strangers can be turned into lifelong friends can be made with just a little openness and vulnerability.
Considering the unconditional love they give us, it’s no surprise that so many people have pets. If you have the time to devote to caring for a pet and don’t have one, it’s definitely something to consider. Dogs, cats and other animals can be loving and joyful companions in our lives and ask for little in return.
Rescue animals can be the most loving of all. They seem to know that they’ve been rescued and will show it time and time again. It doesn’t hurt to take a visit to your local shelters to see if you fall in love with any animal needing to be rescued. When rescuing another creature, we can also be rescuing ourselves.
Moving Beyond Grief
There will naturally be very difficult days that you feel like you barely made it through. The key to working through grief is to feel those feelings deeply and eventually let them pass. You may sometimes feel as though life is getting better only to spiral backwards again. This is okay and perfectly natural to experience.
Remember that grieving is a process and it’s a different process for everyone. Give yourself time and you will experience happiness in life again. The difficult days will be tough but you are even tougher!