Dealing with a Bereavement: Supporting yourself

As well as supporting others it's important to think about your own Wellbeing during times of grief and bereavement.  Thinking of yourself can sometimes feel selfish but if you take care of yourself, you will be better able to support others.

Please see our guide from the Retail Trust that offers all NEXT employees and family living at the same residential address free and confidential support!  


that you're experiencing normal reactions to a normal part of life.  There is nothing unhealthy about grief, and grief is not an illness.  Although death is a painful part of life, you need to go through it to get through it.


that grief can be very chaotic.  Anyone who has been bereaved can tell you that they moved back and forth between five stages - sometimes multiple times.  Grief isn't linear.  It's messy.


and maintain even a basic routine when you're first bereaved.  Getting out of bed, showering and dressing, or even eating a small meal can feel monumental after a loss but do what you can to keep to some semblance of structure.  It will help you to feel as if there is at least one thing you have control over.


numbing the pain. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs whilse they grieve, but they can find that they become more distressed. The pain of loss cannot be medicated - talking, sharing, crying and remembering are all key to recovering from loss.  Substances only delay grief and make it harder to see things clearly.

Practice self-care

even when it's the last thing you want to do.  Eating healthily, staying physically active and getting enough rest will help you to stay as well as possible during this difficult time.  Stress management is also particularly important when grieving and you might find these tips helpful.

Let time take time

There is no schedule for grief, and everyone is different.  Be gentle on yourself and allow yourself the time and space to work through your feelings.

Don't feel pressured

by other people to move on or give your loved one's belongings away either - you know what's best for you.

Reach out

to people who will listen to you and not judge you for your feelings. If you don't have anyone you think can support you, you might find it useful to connect with others via online support groups such as Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Support Community  Speak to your GP about how you feel or contact the Retail Trust for in-the-moment support.


that some people - even people you care about deeply - may not know how to cope with our loss.  Counsellors and healthcare professionals all agree that it's important to wait at least 12 weeks to give you time to come through the initial stages of a bereavement such as registering the death, holding the funeral and dealing with other practicalities.  You also need time to emotionally process the loss.  This is not to say that talking to someone, including a Retail Trust counsellor, won't be helpful, but you'll get the best out of structured bereavement counselling if you wait until you come through the first three months.

Be realistic

about what you can and cannot do. Ask if you need help around the house or someone to look after your children to give you some space on your own. You don't need to be a superhero.  Be gentle on yourself.


If possible, avoid making any major decisions that will affect your life for at least 12 months after your loss.  For example, moving house might feel like a good idea if you want to avoid painful memories, but you may make a decision in haste and regret it.  Wait until your head clears and you've come through the 'firsts' such as the first family birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversary, and so on.


that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.  It can feel like you've been blindsided but it's important to understand that each loss we bear in life is tied in some ways to previous losses (even if they weren't related to a physical death).  Allow yourself to feel these emotions and share them with people you trust or consider keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings.

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Supporting others through bereavement

Supporting others during life's ups and downs is something that we humans are designed to do.  If you know of someone who is going through a bereavement see our guide which lists some tips on how you can offer support to that person.  You may not be able to support them through every tip but if you can take the time to do one of them you will have helped support that individual. 

Click here to learn about supporting others through bereavement.