How to look after your emotional health after bereavement

The loss of a loved one comes with a number of feelings and emotions which are intense and overwhelming. They often contradict one another, leaving you confused and lost. That’s why looking after your emotional health is an important part of the grieving process.

Please consider the following suggestions regarding your emotional health after bereavement:

Give yourself permission to grieve

There is no right or wrong way to grieve but you need to do it. Accept the fact that it’s going to be difficult and give yourself permission to grieve. Find a way to channel your feelings and express your emotions because bottling them can lead to complications later on.

Deal with secondary losses

If you were a carer to someone who died as the result of an illness, for example, the loss of your role as a carer is a secondary loss. It can also be a change in circumstances, such as leaving the home you shared together, becoming a single parent etc.

Dealing with these secondary losses adds extra pressure on you but it’s a necessary part of the grieving process. Take your time to adjust to your new role and circumstances because they are the foundations of your future.

Talk about your feelings and mental well being

Talking about the person whose death you mourn and its impact is quite cathartic and it helps with grief. You can talk to trustworthy family members and friends, your GP, a grief counsellor or join a local grief group. There are also telephone lines which can be very helpful because they are trained to listen without judging you or volunteering any advice.

Death and grief are still difficult topics of conversation and unless they have first hand experience, people tend to avoid them. Don’t be offended by those who avoid to talk about your loss. The chances are that they don’t know what to say or they don’t want to upset you.

Social life affects your emotional health

Grief is very good at convincing you to give up on social life and restrict you to the comfort of your home. There are times when you need to be on your own but don’t make a habit of it. We are social creatures and we need to interact with others on regular basis. Stay in touch with your family and friends and make an effort to be with them socially.

Accept invitations for gatherings or meals out and when you feel ready – invite them for a cuppa and a catch up at your place. If that’s too much too soon, start by visiting your local library on regular basis, then try going out for a coffee or a meal out. If you are worried about being on your own in a public place, take a book or a magazine to read whilst there.

How do you look after your emotional health after bereavement?

More resources

After the funeral

Grief help and support

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