When you lose someone, you oftentimes lose a small part of yourself, too.
And there’s good reason for you to feel this way: Your loved one may have helped shape who you are today, raising you, introducing you to your favorite hobbies or encouraging you to chase your ambitions. They may have been your partner, the person you spent your weekends with, or even the person you lived with.
Your role in the departed’s life has now changed, too. Your responsibility as a mother, father, caregiver or child, for instance, takes on a new form—and while your love remains unchanged, you can sometimes lose your sense of purpose as you experience changes in your daily routine or way of life.
No matter whom you’ve lost, the feeling of losing who you are and your role in that person’s life can be both overwhelming and devastating. And while grief has no time limit, there are several ways to cope and rebuild your confidence following the loss of a loved one. Below, we detail five ways to do so.
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1. Seek Support
There’s no shame in seeking emotional support from a close family member, friend or professional. Losing a loved one can make you feel isolated, and talking to someone can offer a sense of comfort knowing that you’re not alone in your grief. Support groups can also provide guidance or individual counseling services to help you cope.
Acknowledging your loss—rather than ignoring it or turning to harmful alternatives to avoid it—can help you better process your emotions, reach a point of acceptance and move forward with your life.
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2. Prioritize Self-Care
While grieving, self-care may not seem like a top priority, but it’ll play a significant role in your long-term health. Grief is linked to higher blood pressure, shorter lives, depression and sleeping problems, which is why it’s especially important to focus on your health during difficult times.
Some ways to care for yourself include listening to your body when you’re tired, incorporating exercise into your daily routine and eating healthy foods. Habits like these will help grow your confidence, lower stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing.
3. Practice Positivity and Gratitude
Grief fosters emotions like sadness and pain, which can result in an overall poor life outlook. Focusing on these emotions can have an adverse effect on your self-worth, and how you view both the world and your everyday life.
When you’re ready, try some small practices or meditations to shift your mindset to a more positive light. Start your day by writing in a journal or telling yourself something you’re grateful for. It can be something as obvious as the clothes on your back or something you’re looking forward to, like an upcoming vacation. There is no limit to gratitude and remember: Even though your loved one is gone, you can still be grateful for your memories with them—and for the experiences to come as you move forward.
4. Foster Caring Relationships
Following a loss, many people tend to alienate themselves, and these feelings of loneliness can be debilitating to your self-confidence. As you grieve, it’s important to identify the people in your life that—like your loved one—have encouraged you, supported you and helped you grow.
You may want some privacy as you grieve, and that’s okay. But it’s also essential to recognize that you’re not alone, and that fostering relationships with the people that care for you will help you regain confidence as you navigate through your grief.
5. Do Something You Love
The loss of a loved one can have a debilitating effect on one’s interests. Oftentimes, the activities we love are the ones we’re good at, or the ones that make us happiest. Experiencing this joy can sometimes make someone who’s grieving feel guilty, leading them to avoid those activities altogether.
When it feels right, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in what makes you feel happiest. If you love being outside, take a hike on a sunny day. If you love cooking, make your favorite meal. It doesn’t have to be an extensive activity—even a small, 10-minute moment for yourself is a positive step forward in your grief journey.
Receive Expert Guidance Throughout Your Grief Journey
In the days, weeks and months following a loss, it’s important to remember the grieving process has no set timeline. The stages of grief are often unpredictable, and some days may feel better or worse than others.
To help guide you through your grief journey and provide you with information you need to heal, we encourage you to subscribe to our weekly grief support newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing.
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.