When someone you love dies, it’s easy to get stuck in unhealthy habits or patterns of behavior. Whether you are in recovery from an addiction or not, grief hurts. It’s essential to have a road map to deal with grief. Grief typically hits you in phases or stages and will take time to work through. Kubler Ross, a grief and death expert, outlined the stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying as:
- SHOCK/DENIAL: I am in denial that the person died. I can not believe it.
- BARGAINING: I think about things I could have said or done to prevent their death, or things I could’ve said to them before they died.
- ANGER: I am angry about losing a loved one, but take out my anger out on others by being more irritable with them.
- DEPRESSION: I am sad about losing a loved one and that I will not be able to see them again.
- ACCEPTANCE: I accept they are gone and have a spiritual practice around maintaining connection or honoring them while I continue to live.
These were later revised to be phases that people cycle in and out of, with the ultimate goal being to reach some sort of acceptance regarding the loss of a loved one. We will all go through these phases during our own grief process, but we can build in additional support while we walk the grief journey.
7 Healthy Ways to Get Through Grief
1. Spend Time With Loved Ones
It’s easy to withdraw and isolate yourself when grieving, but reaching out is crucial. Having a support system can help you cope with loss while keeping your relationships strong. By spending time with family and friends, you remember what matters most in life. When you surround yourself with people who truly care about you — whether its parents, siblings, children, or other loved ones — it can make all the difference in a time of mourning.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining your health. If you’re under a lot of stress, you may find yourself waking up several times throughout the night. If you know you can’t get quality sleep in your current environment, head to another room and try meditating or journaling until you feel ready for bed.
3. Eat Healthy
One of your goals may be to eat healthier. Ensure you’re getting enough nutrients by eating leafy greens, healthy fats, lean proteins, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The USDA’s recommended daily intake is five to 13 servings of fruit and veggies. Stick with whole foods as much as possible because processed foods tend to be high in sodium and preservatives that aren’t good for your health or weight loss efforts.
According to the American Psychological Association exercise is one activity that can help you feel better. With increased endorphins and serotonin (happy chemicals) in your brain, exercising can make you feel better both mentally and physically.
5. Spend Time Outdoors
When you’re grieving, it can be helpful to spend time in nature — the fresh air, greenery, and sunshine can help you decompress from your loss. A trip outdoors also gives you a chance to connect with family and friends while enjoying some of nature’s solace.
6. Get a Pet
Animals can have a calming effect on you, offering relief from anxiety and depression. Pet ownership lowers blood pressure while reducing stress hormones and inflammation. Plus, petting an animal activates nerve cells in your brain associated with pleasure. Adopting a pet helps if you’re grieving because it allows you to form a bond immediately that can help ease your pain.
7. Avoid Burnout at Work
Make time to do nothing. One big health mistake is trying to do it all at work, which leads to resentment, burnout, and poor health. To avoid burnout at work, stop setting expectations that are too high or impossible to reach, establish boundaries with other people (or with your inner critic), and start valuing your time. It’s alright to say no to preserve your energy.Alternatively, this may be a signal that it’s time to strike out on your own and pursue a career or business that will make you feel happier and more fulfilled. If creating a business out of a passion sounds compelling to you, make sure to keep your stress levels low by reducing your personal liability. Structuring as an LLC or limited liability company may be your course of action. Use a formation service to take the stress out of the paperwork, without massive costs.
Remember grief is a journey and not an end point. If you need someone to talk to or support you in the process, you can always reach out to a grief counseling specialists as well. Take care of yourself and set yourself up to move through the grief process in healthy ways.
If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse or addiction, visit Full Potential Now for helpful blogs and podcasts on the subject or reach out to a professional counselor for additional support.
Written by Camille Johnson and Ted Izydor
Camille Johnson pays it forward by offering resources and support to those going through the grief process at her website http://bereaver.com.
Kübler-Ross, E. (1970). On death and dying. Collier Books/Macmillan Publishing Co.