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Losing a loved one is a life-changing experience, and everyone copes with it differently. For some, the loss brings about depression, anxiety, stress, and even suicidal thoughts as they try to handle the emotional turbulence of grief. This is normal, but it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with your feelings as you work through this challenging time.
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or feel that you aren’t safe, get to a place free of weapons or items which could cause harm and reach out for help, either to a trusted friend or loved one or to a helpline. If you’re wary of talking to a stranger over the phone, there are many chat lines and even numbers you can text to if you’re feeling unsafe.
Ways to stay safe and cope wisely.
To learn how to cope from day to day, it’s helpful to find healthy ways to practice self-care and mechanisms that will allow you to focus on the present, rather than the past or future. This is called mindful thinking and is often mingled with practices such as yoga or meditation.
Get daily exercise
When you’re depressed, it can be extremely difficult to imagine getting out and exercising. Depression often affects us physically, meaning your body may ache, you may have severe headaches or restlessness, and you may have trouble sleeping. These issues all affect your ability to become motivated or to even perform daily tasks, but exercise can actually help many of these problems. You don’t need to go to the gym or do anything too intensive; getting out for a walk with the dog is enough.
Look for a bereavement program
Sometimes a support group isn’t enough. If that’s the case, consider finding an online bereavement program that will help you learn to cope with your feelings as they come up, from day to day, rather than teaching you ways to deal with your feelings as a whole. Neptune Society offers a wonderful program that will help you find peace even during the darkest days.
Spend time with animals
If you don’t have a pet, consider adopting one or spending time with a friend who has one. Animals can be wonderful companions for those battling depression and grief; in fact, studies have shown over the years that many people with mood disorders and disabilities can benefit greatly from working with horses, dogs, and other gentle creatures and that there are even physical benefits, such as lowered blood pressure.
Join a support group
It may seem difficult to get started, but once you take the first step, you may just find that a support group is just the thing you needed. There are many different types; some you can go to in person, others you can attend online, so you can find the right environment for your needs. Talking to others about the pain you’ve experienced can be helpful, especially if they understand what you’re going through.
The grieving process can take a lot out of you, so it’s important to take care of yourself as much as possible. Get enough rest, eat well-balanced meals, and be patient with yourself.
Create a Memorial for Your Loved One.
Creating a memorial for your loved one can help cope with their loss. Memorials provide a connection to memories, happy times shared with the individual, and help those who are grieving to contemplate a life well lived.