Reconnecting with yourself after grief

There’s nothing easy about losing a loved one. You may feel a sense of loneliness, lose track of your typical routine, or simply not enjoy certain activities anymore. The idea of staying at home may seem so much easier than those plans you made with friends. It might seem like a better idea to shut out the world, but there’s a lack of healing in this lifestyle if it goes on too long. How can we continue to engage in things that fulfill us, even when we don’t feel like we can? How can we reconnect to life in steps that don’t tire us?

Here are a few things to consider:

Explore and identify the right options to slowly reconnect with your everyday life, looking for small ways to reengage. This could be calling a friend for a few minutes, grabbing a cup of coffee with someone for an hour, or going out to lunch or a movie. No feat is too small when it comes to healing; take it at your own pace.

Accept your feelings. Grief brings many turbulent emotions, especially the more negative ones that we normally try to avoid. Some days it will be all you can do to get out of bed because they are so heavy. Don’t beat yourself up for spending an afternoon in bed or just needing to take a break from life for a few hours. Know your limits, but also don’t be ashamed of them. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Be honest with friends and family that you are grieving and may not be quite the same as you once were, but you still want their companionship and support. Don't be afraid to ask them to check on you periodically and keep inviting you even if you say no the first several times. 

It’s important to understand that grief is a process, not an event. It changes us and the way we perceive and relate to the world and people around us. Grief also doesn't stop when we have to resume our normal activities and obligations, such as work, school and caring for our families. When getting back to your everyday routine, be sure to leave yourself room and time for the grief, as well as for some of the activities you enjoyed prior to your loss, which could help you feel a little bit more like yourself.