When you lose someone close to you, it can be truly devastating and it can be difficult to know what to do and where to turn. Grief is incredibly personal – everyone experiences different emotions when grieving, and everyone deals with these emotions in different ways. It’s important to allow yourself the space and time you need to come to terms with your loss in a way that works for you.
Look After Yourself
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, any daily routine that you previously had can quickly go out of the window. It’s possible that you’ll be distracted by grief and, in turn, forget to look after your own health and wellbeing.
It may feel trivial in the face of your loss, but it’s absolutely essential that you don’t neglect your health during this time. It’s important to make sure that you’re eating properly, that you’re getting enough rest and that you’re keeping yourself hydrated. You might lose your appetite without even noticing, so it’s important to keep tabs to ensure that you’re eating balanced meals. If you’re undernourished or exhausted then this can cause you to feel anxious, stressed and unable to cope.
If you’re run down or not sleeping properly then this can have a detrimental effect on your immune system, making you susceptible to illness, as well as having a negative impact on your mental health. Try to maintain some level of routine, going to bed and getting up at a set time to get the right amount of rest.
Talk Things Through
Talking things through can really help you to cope. If there are other people around you who are also grieving, then support one another. Talk about the person that you’ve lost and don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel and how you’re coping. It could really help to ease some of the pain that you’re feeling and you’ll probably discover that you’re not alone.
If you’re feeling isolated and you don’t feel that there are people around who you can turn to, it’s important to know that support is available. There are countless organisations which can offer support, advice and a listening ear. Many of these organisations can also put you in touch with other people who are in similar situations, so that you can help one another and eliminate feelings of isolation.
Details of charities and organisations that can offer bereavement support and advice can be found on the Co-op Funeralcare website.
Give Yourself Time
Don’t try to confine your grief to a set timeframe. There’s not a set point at which you should be “feeling better.” Make sure that you give yourself all the time you need, don’t try to supress your emotions and don’t ever think that you should apologise for feeling the way that you feel.
If you’re employed then you may feel that you need some time away from work to come to terms with your loss. If you’re unsure of how best to approach this, see our Employee Guide to Bereavement Leave.
If you get to a point where you feel like you are coping, it may be that you want to continue making time to reflect and to remember your loved one, particularly on special occasions. If this is the case then it's important to recognise this and to allow yourself this reflection time.
If you feel at any point that you’re not able to cope, or that your grief is not becoming manageable, then remember there are people you can turn to. You can speak to your GP, or another health or social care professional, who will be able to monitor your general health and refer you to the appropriate support services.