The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing. And when you start to make unhealthy choices, it’s important to learn how to be strong enough to make changes.
If you’ve recently experienced a loss in your life, you may be tempted to distract yourself by turning to alcohol, drugs, or some other means to dull the pain. But using unhealthy coping mechanisms will not help you. They will only make your pain and stress more acute and will cause damage to other areas of your life in the process. Instead try taking it one day at a time and taking the following steps to process your guilt while remembering your loss.
Let Go of the Past
Death has a funny way of making you focus on the past. When you experience loss, you may immediately start to think of the times you had with your loved one and this is completely normal. If you find those memories are overwhelmed by regret, it may be time to re-evaluate your thinking. You can’t change the past, so it’s more important to think of how you can change your future. Instead of thinking about how you could have been better to the one you loved, think about how you can be better to the people who are still here. Put your heart into improving those relationships to turn your guilt into a positive in your life.
Make Memories, Not Decisions
It’s important to stick to a normal routine as much as possible but this should not apply to decision-making. You may have moments of clarity where you feel up to making big changes in your life. You may even think these alterations will help relieve your pain. Know that grief and drastic choices do not mix well together. Whether you feel it or not, your mind is not working efficiently when processing grief, so try and put off any big decisions, like moving or finding a new job, until you are further along in the grieving process.
Take the time you would spend on these decisions and find ways to honor your loved one. Maybe put together a scrapbook of your best times together or visit with their family and share some funny stories. This way you are spending energy on small choices that can relieve your grief and possibly help others as well.
Know When to Ask for Help
Grief takes time, and everyone experiences the grieving process differently. While grief doesn’t look the same for everyone, there are some common stages you should know. Be aware of how you work through your feelings and know when you are feeling stuck. If you feel like you just can’t move past your grief, after a length of time, it may be time to reach out for help. Share your feelings with someone you love and trust. You can also find a grief support group where you can open up about your feelings and find some resolution. When people grieve they can quickly fall into a depression, so don’t be ashamed to seek professional advice if you start to feel like you just can’t deal with the pain.
Grief can be overwhelming and can take over your life, if you let it. It may be awhile before you feel normal but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least feel like you have control. By being aware of your grief and staying in the present, you can help your heart heal and truly honor your loved one by living your life to the fullest.