5 Healthy Ways to Cope With Death

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When you lose a loved one, it is normal to grieve. The grieving process is unpredictable, but if you had a close relationship with the person, it may last a significant amount of time. Most people go through several stages in their grief. First is a feeling of shock and numbness, during which you are distracted, weak and uncertain how to cope. This is often followed by confrontation, when the full realization of your loss and all its inherent pain hits you. During this time you might have insomnia, feel depressed and become socially withdrawn. Finally, you accept your loss, and though you continue to miss your loved one, you get on with your life. Here are some ways to help you cope with a loved one's death.


Be Honest and Patient With Yourself

Do not try to cover up the pain and other emotions you are feeling. Go ahead and cry. Do not judge yourself or worry about what others think of you as you mourn. Forgive yourself and others for any real or imagined slights and unkind acts towards the deceased. Be patient with yourself as you take the time to work through the process of grieving and healing.


Take Care of Yourself

As you mourn, be sure to take care of your physical needs. Eat well, and exercise regularly. If you do not feel up to a strenuous workout, at least get out of the house to take walks. Treat yourself to things you enjoy doing such as eating good food, listening to music, watching films, reading books or playing your favorite sports. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Though they may seem to help at first, in the long term they cause more problems than they relieve. Some people suffer from clinical depression during bereavement. If feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt do not go away after a few months, seek professional help.


Get Support

Do not shut yourself off from family and friends or try to hide what you are feeling. Talk about your loved one. Share your memories and experiences. If you feel lonely, call or visit someone you can confide in. You might benefit from joining a support group of others who have lost loved ones and are grieving. If you need professional help, seek out bereavement counseling.


Prepare for Special Days

If there were special days such as holidays and anniversaries that you and your loved one habitually celebrated together, you may feel emotionally upset at those times. Prepare ahead to be with others who understand what you are going through. If you feel up to it, plan something special in memory of your loved one.


Be Creative

Creativity is an excellent way to confront your feelings positively. Writing an obituary of your loved one enables you to recall the best moments of your lives together. Later, if you like, write something longer such as a memoir. If prose is not your talent, painting, gardening or some other form of artistic expression is very therapeutic.


Remember that you are not the only one in your family who is suffering loss. Sometimes reaching out and helping to mitigate the pain of others helps relieve your own.