How can you get back to living after you lose someone you love? That was the topic of discussion between Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Howard Winokuer during an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As the president of ADEC, Winokuer has dedicated his life to helping the bereaved in their healing process. In the early stages, it can be common to feel like you can’t go on. There’s a thin line between grief and depression. However, it’s a mark of grief when the bereaved begin to seek out meaning in life after a loss. Getting there is another obstacle.

“You don’t want to live in the very beginning,” says Dr. Horsley. How can you move into a healthier mindset? This is a difficult decision to make according to Winokuer. The first decision any bereaved person can make is that you consciously want to live in spite of the death. It can take a long time to get to this point. Your life is very important, and the desire to live is critical. Dr. Horsley experienced a feeling of helplessness when she lost her son—and when she began to run, that’s when she decided to take care of herself.

Giving Yourself Permission

How can you be out running and still care about your child? That’s a worry many bereaved have. However, it’s not about what anybody else thinks. Reinvesting in yourself requires you to give yourself permission to care for your health. Trust yourself, trust your gut, and put self-care first.

In the beginning, you may not have the energy to want to go out. Dr. Winokuer says there are some key tips to keep in mind, starting with communication.

Howard Winokuer

Howard Winokuer

Dr. Howard R. Winokuer, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, brings a special sensitivity and total commitment to his work. Dr. Winokuer was the co-founder of TO LIFE, a not-for-profit educational and counseling organization that specialized in issues dealing with grief and loss. During his twenty-year career, he has worked with thousands of people suffering from these issues. He has conducted workshops and seminars throughout the United States, as well as in seven foreign countries. Dr. Winokuer has written numerous articles on topics such as coping with grief, relationships, aging, parents and teen suicide. He has recently completed a book entitled A Simple Guide to a Peaceful Life. Dr. Winokuer has a private practice specializing in grief and loss www.thewinokuercenter.com and is the incoming president of the Association of Death Education and Counseling (ADEC).

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