The loss of a close friend or family member is a stressful life event and often leads to a wide range of emotions. Mourning and grieving is a natural process and may last for months or years. Although the loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience, there are methods that can help you cope.
Take care of yourself
It’s easy to ignore your physical and mental well-being when experiencing a major life change. However, it’s important to be kind to yourself and pay special attention to your mental health during this time. Stress can lead to physical illness, depression, and insomnia, so recognizing stress and treating them can help you in the long run.
It’s common to sleep less or more than you did before the loss. If sleep is causing you to feel more anxious or depressed, try practicing good sleep hygiene. On the same note, make sure to take care of yourself by eating regular, healthy meals and staying hydrated. Avoid alcohol as much as possible, since it can disrupt your sleep schedule and negatively impact your mood.
There are a variety of forms of meditation that help with coping with grief. Consider trying breathing practices, guided meditation, or yoga. Meditation is a great way to be mindful of your feelings while staying in the present, and can help you move toward a better headspace.
Express your feelings
Bottling up your emotions after the loss of a loved one will only prolong the grieving process. According to Dr. Shelley Carson, a lecturer at Harvard University, the main problem during the grieving process involves deactivation of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for positive emotions like joy, rather than overactivation of the right hemisphere, which dispenses emotions like anxiety. Therefore, engaging in creative activities can help re-engage and direct brain activity toward the left hemisphere, helping you relieve stress and creating an overall sense of well-being.
Even if you’re not an artist, everyone has the capacity to be creative. Try putting your thoughts and emotions into words or pictures to help you make sense out of them. Invest in a journal and make an effort to write down your emotions daily. If you’re on the artistic side, try drawing or making a collage.
Surrounding yourself with those who care about you is one of the best things you can do to improve your physical and mental health. Reach out to friends or family members to connect, especially with those who also need help coping with the loss.
Although reaching out to friends and family is a great source is support, you might be experiencing different emotions than them. For instance, if you’re in charge of the funeral and cremation services, you’re probably feeling more overwhelmed and stressed. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if you need to speak to someone confidentially. A therapist can help teach you coping skills to overcome the loss and will help you understand the emotions you’re experiencing.
Polaris Teen Depression Treatment Centers are ideal for teens experiencing loss for the first time, as they provide compassionate treatment that allows teens to understand the underlying reasons behind their emotions.
Coping with the loss of a loved one will leave you feeling a wide range of emotions. It’s important to remember that mourning and grieving are natural, healthy processes, and that it takes time to overcome them. All in all, make sure to take care of your physical and mental well-being and surround yourself with support during this time.