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5 Tips to Help You Cope with a Family Loss

Losing a family member is one of the most devastating experiences a person can endure. Unless you’ve sat on the front row of a funeral, you’re not going to fully understand what it’s like to experience that type of loss until you’re actually in it. When you’re in it, it feels all-consuming.Truthfully, this is a natural feeling. It’s totally normal. There’s life after loss. There are ways to get through the experience. When you’re looking to cope with your grieving process, consider the following tips.

1. Therapy

When you lose a loved one, it shifts your world to the point that you may not recognize yourself. This shift requires time for you to process and communicate your feelings. While you may be tempted to internalize your emotions, the best thing you can do is get them out. 

Do not try to bottle up your emotions because that’s a great way to self-destruct. Sit down with a grief counselor. A grief counselor can help you recognize your emotions, guide you through the process and help you normalize your feelings.

2. Preparation

There’s nothing worse than having to worry about the financial status of a loved one who’s passed. Without an established will or any estate planning, the grieving process becomes even more intense. Prioritize estate planning for you and your family members in order to ensure that when the next person passes, all of the affairs are in order. When all of the affairs are in order such as life insurance and funeral arrangements, it’s much easier to focus solely on the grieving and healing journey.

3. Community

While there are people who learn to cope and grieve on their own, it’s healthier to cope and heal in the safety of the community. Whether you have a church community or a large family unit, find positive people that you can surround yourself with. If you don’t have a church community or a strong family unit, it’s a great idea to consider grief counseling in a group setting. 

Start to cultivate relationships with people who have been through the grieving process and can help you heal. There’s safety in numbers. Even if it means it’s somebody just sitting with you on a tough day, it’s much healthier to emote and express your emotions when you’re in the safety of people who love you and care about your healing journey.

4. Healthy Activities/Diversions

Healing can be very painful. Even though it’s a painful process, resist the urge to cope with unhealthy practices. Do not drown your sorrows at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol. Do not smoke or drink the pain away. Do not get into unhealthy, toxic relationships that will damage you.

Instead, find healthy activities that allow you to release any tension and emotions that you have. Start working out in the gym. Move your body. Cultivate a new hobby. Volunteer in your community. Begin to travel. Visit the spa. Take an art class. 

As you find healthy coping mechanisms to help you get through the tougher parts of the journey, you’ll be able to develop a new sense of joy within the new hobbies you’ve cultivated.

5. Rituals

Rituals are synonymous with routines. Establish routines based on the emotion you’re feeling. For example, if you know that you tend to feel down on Fridays, create a schedule for Fridays that’s not as intense as it would be on Tuesdays or another day of the week. 

Have your days where you expect more of yourself. Find days where you can give yourself more space to breathe and move slowly. As you cultivate different routines, make sure to incorporate healthy activities such as meditation, reading, and water consumption.

Bottom Line

It’s often stated that you don’t quite get over the loss of a loved one. You learn how to adjust to life without that person. While you will always miss them, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s also not a linear experience. Five years down the line, you might find that you’ve relapsed in certain ways. You might miss that person in different ways. As the grief evolves, your love evolves. Your ability to adjust and cope will evolve as well. Though this loss will always be a part of your life, you will get through it and find joy on the other side.

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