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How to Seek Help When You or a Loved One is Grieving

Grieving the loss of a loved one in San Mateo and elsewhere is never predictable. Not only is the length of grieving different for everyone, the way in which we grieve is also different. But one thing is clear no matter what: help is available if you need it. That can be in the form of counseling or it can be in the form of support groups. No matter which route you choose, bereavement services can help you through these dark days.

When You are Grieving

When you have lost someone you love, it can be easy to let self-care go by the wayside. According to PsychCentral, self-care comprises activities that we engage in that can help manage our mental, emotional, and physical health. While simple in theory, it can be difficult to actually implement because of the pain we’re going through. But self-care can help improve mood and reduce anxiety and can refuel us when we are depleted. If you can take care of yourself, you can take care of others who may also be grieving.

Here are some tips to ensure self-care remains a priority when you are grieving.

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Create a “no” list that outlines the tasks you don’t wish to do because they cause repeated stress. You can add things like saving emails for business hours, not answering phone calls when having dinner with your family, and not attending functions that will trigger your emotions in unhealthy ways.

  1. Eat Healthy

A nutritious, healthy diet will boost your physical and emotional well-being. Be sure to get enough sleep and come up with an exercise routine each day. Just going for a walk every day or hitting the gym three times a week is enough for now. When you’re active, you boost your serotonin levels, improving your mood and energy.

  1. Listen to your body

Grief Watch says you should give yourself permission to experience the emotions you need to as they come — a big part of healing throughout grieving. Don’t stifle those feelings because they won’t just go away. Release them and then tackle a positive activity.

  1. Spend quality time

Whether by yourself or with a close friend who can nourish your spirit each day, this will help prevent burnout. Busying yourself with loose ends, errands and quick visits from well-meaning guests won’t help you in the long run, says The Huffington Post.

  1. Meditate

Sit in a dark room for 10 minutes for quiet reflection, take a bubble bath, try a yoga class or write in your journal. Carving out even just a few minutes for yourself each day is critical to the healing process.

When a Loved One is Grieving

If you’re trying to comfort someone else who is grieving, here are some tips to try.

  • Listen: Don’t talk or offer your own stories of grief. Just sit and listen, even if there are long moments of silence. Sometimes this is the best way to show someone that you’re there for them.
  • Be respectful: Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Avoid judging your friend about the way they’re grieving, as everyone shows it differently. The sadness that comes with loss is universal, though.
  • Anticipate mood swings: Grieving people have emotional ups and downs, and it’s all a normal part of the grieving process.
  • Don’t give advice unless asked: Even if you mean well, unsolicited advice can worsen how a bereaved person feels. Let them know you recognize the magnitude of their loss and just encourage them to work things out by talking about their feelings if they’re open to it.
  • Don’t try to explain the loss: There are really no words that you can say to console the bereaved. Phrases like “he’s in a better place now,” “at least she’s no longer suffering,” and “It’s God’s will” can all have the opposite effect.
  • Help out with chores or errands: A practical way to help a bereaved person is to handle tasks like grocery shopping, school pick-ups, meal prep, making phone calls, doing the laundry, and babysitting. Just jump right in and do it — don’t wait for them to ask you because they probably won’t and then no one wins.
  • Stay connected: Because there is no timetable for grief, you have to be patient with your friend who is in the thick of it right now. Check in on them often but don’t force them to engage in activities or make them feel guilty for still grieving.
  • Suggest help: You can’t force anyone to go to therapy, but you can provide them with the resources and referrals they need to get help. Hand them a brochure on support groups in the area, or send them a link to a trusted therapist in their community. They can take the initiative if and when they’re ready but at least they know you care.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

No matter which type of bereavement services you choose (support group, counseling, memorial services, etc.), we offer many resources to help you through this time. Contact us at 888-978-1306 to ask about what we offer in San Mateo and elsewhere.