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 with ways to support yourself when going through a bereavement
Supporting yourself through bereavement
Acknowledge 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.
Understand that grief can feel 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.
Try 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 tosome semblance of structure. It will help you to feel as if there is at least one thing you have control over.
Avoid 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 anuone 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.
Accept that some people - even people you care about deeply - may not know how to cope with our loss
Councellors and healthcare proffessionals 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.
Accept 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 emotins and share them with people you trust or consider keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings
FREE mental health support Digicare+ Workplace
BEREAVEMENT SESSIONS AVAILABLE
FREE Sessions with a qualified therapist, advice and personal treatment plans are available when you download the Digicare + AVIVA Workplace App.
Click here to find out more
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.