New Year. It’s a time for fresh beginnings, new goals and looking forward. It’s also a time for resolutions. But when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, the traditional resolutions like losing weight, exercising more and drinking less coffee may not seem so important to you.
As you step into the New Year, think about making the following resolutions to help ease your grieving process.
1. Accept your feelings
When you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one it can sometimes feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster.
One moment you’re sad. The next you’re lonely. And then you just feel angry. Or you may feel sad, lonely and angry all at once. That’s OK. There’s no right or wrong way to feel when you’re grieving.
2. Be patient with yourself
The grieving process takes time. It can’t be forced or hurried. Some people start to feel better in weeks. For others it can be months or more.
There’s no ‘normal’ timetable for grief and it’s important to allow the process to unfold naturally.
3. Take care of yourself physically
Your mind and body are connected. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, do some exercise and take time to relax.
If you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally.
4. Accept help from others
Grief is hard work and it can be exhausting. But remember, you’re not alone. Reach out to family and friends. Share stories about your loved one with them. Let them listen.
Help and support can make all the difference when you are grieving. And don’t forget that professional guidance is also available.
5. Start a grief journal
Putting words on paper allows you to express feelings that are painful, rather than carrying those feelings around inside.
Remember, the grieving process is unique. Finding what suits you best may take some time. If one resolution doesn’t work, don’t stop searching for what makes the process a little easier. As time moves on, grief doesn’t go away. But we do learn to live with the loss by learning to better cope with our feelings.
6. Promise yourself
Grieving is hard at the start of the year when everyone is celebrating. Be kind to yourself this year and try making these promises.
I promise to acknowledge that my grief is my own. I know it is unique and isn’t to be judged.
I promise to take care of myself. I will make sure I give myself enough ‘me’ time.
I promise to be kind to myself. I know there will be triggers that will upset me at different times. That’s OK.
I promise to honour my loved one. I will say their name out loud, tell our stories and share our memories.
I promise not to dwell. Focusing on ‘should of’, ‘could of’ and ‘would of’ will do me no good, so I will try to look forward.
I promise to be grateful for those around me. I’m thankful for those who will listen.
For those who are grieving, the best New Year’s resolution you can grant yourself is the resolution of hope. Your loved one will always remain in your heart. But have hope that you can be patient with your grief, and trust that the pain will ease.
If you or someone you know needs help coping with grief, reach out to a family member, friend or counsellor – help and support at this time of year can make all the difference. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you find the services and resources you need.