Do you have a plan to help you cope with your loss and painful grief? Taking back control of your life and how you respond to your grief can be empowering at a time when we often feel vulnerable and hopeless.
To begin writing a plan, start with a simple list of all things that can help you to cope. Your plan will evolve and change over time, so don’t worry if the list is incomplete right now. You should also include things that involve interactions with others and leaving your home once in awhile, even if just for short walks.
Below are some ideas to get you started, and you will likely think of many more:
– Call-A-Buddy (this can be one person or several people that you can count on to talk to about your loss and grief).
– Journaling (you can simply write in a notebook or make this into a project and carefully select or make a journal to write in about your loss, grief, memories, hopes, fears, poems, letters, plans, changes… anything you like). This is a great way to have a release valve for your daily stress and grief, and also record memories you are afraid of forgetting so you don’t have to hold onto them so tightly. It will also be a good measure of your changing grief and healing, which is sometimes hard to see.
– Gardening can be a simple or more involved activity. Perhaps you would like to create and nurture a memorial garden in honor of your loved one over the summer. Rock gardens, water features and perhaps a bench to sit and enjoy your creation are also nice ideas.
– Memory Books can be a very healing on-going project. You can do this alone or, better yet, gather loved ones for a pot luck share photos, stories, travel mementos, poems, personal sentiments, etc.
– Nature can be an inspiring place to grieve and heal. Walking, hiking, biking photographing trees, flowers and birds, and other outdoor activities can help you better cope with your loss and grief.
– Arts, Crafts and Hobbies can provide a welcome distraction to the constant weight of your grief. It can be hard to focus on new activities at first, but it does become easier and something you will begin look forward to doing.
Once your initial list is complete, go back over it and elaborate on each idea to add focus to your plans (i.e. where and what will you plant in your garden; when and where will you go to take photos; what hobbies materials or classes will you need, etc.)
Start to initiate your new plans right away by doing any necessary research and setting time frames. Be sure to also consider how you will cope with being in public; how you can respond to bursts of grief; and how to divert misdirected anger when dealing with others. You need not over-anticipate these things, but knowing how you can respond, if needed, will also help relieve anxiety you may be feeling.
While there will certainly be times when you just need to be alone with your grief, it is also important to find things to help you to cope as you move forward. Having a plan for coping with loss and responding to grief can help support you in many different ways.