Updated: Jul 24
With a recent loss, it can be so overwhelming that it is hard to know where, how, or even if you can be helped. Don't be discouraged! I have seen the below guideposts help countless that are deep in grief.
Here are 5 Guideposts for Your First 6 Months
For the first several months surround yourself with good listeners. Ask friends to be a listening ear or write about your day in a journal. The release of these thoughts outside ourselves stabilizes by orienting our mind and body to the new reality.
Ask for help in practical areas: meals, grocery shopping, laundry, child transportation.
A note for friends: try not to over-extend yourself. Offer exactly what you can deliver on consistently with the date and time of your offering. For instance, "I will bring dinner every Monday for the month of June." or "I will be doing my grocery shopping this Saturday, message me what you need."
3. Don't exhaust yourself with too much information. This can cause those in grief to become overwhelmed. Instead, focus your attention on utilizing coping skills.
For those of you with the "RESTORED" workbook
Focus on practices 1 through 3. Practice 1 and 2 will help you understand the entire grief process. Practice 3 will help you develop coping skills.
Find your type of relationship loss on page 78 and read the practical advice for your exact situation.
Find your type of loss on page 94 and read the practical advice for your exact situation.
4. Share good memories as they arise. Yes, they will bring sadness, but memories help us make sense of our stories and create a grateful spirit for what a wonderful person we had in our lives. The type of sadness that arises from good memories will give way to joy, this is an amazing miracle that I have seen a million times and experienced myself.
See Workbook Practice 7 that will help you remember sweet moments and Workbook Practice 8 will help you create healing out of these memories using rituals.
5. If you notice your thoughts continue to go to a certain topic, find this topic and learn about just that topic. Below are some examples of past grievers' needs and practices that address that topic. You and your friends can listen for these phrases to know where focusing would help:
"I don't know where to begin."-read about what it means to grieve (Workbook Practice 1)
"The grief process confuses me" -read about the restorative grief process (Workbook Practice 2)
"I am so overwhelmed by life I can't focus" -learn and practice coping skills (Workbook Practice 3)
"I am overwhelmed by my feelings"-read about loss and feelings. (Workbook Practice 4)
"The way my loved one passed haunts me" -read about overcoming your individual loss challenges (Practice 5)
"I can't overcome my anger...anxiety...fear...unforgiveness...depression....guilt..." -read about overcoming certain emotions. (Workbook Practice 6)
"My kids are suffering, I don't know what to do." -read about helping your kiddos (Workbook Practice 9)
"I do not know who I am anymore" -read about renewing your identity (Workbook Practice 10)
"Every time I pass the supermarket I am in tears!"- read about overcoming grief triggers (Workbook Practice 11)
"I cannot bear to think about participating in the Christmas dinner." - read about dealing with holidays (Workbook Practice 12)
"I am afraid I will forget them!" - read about creating purpose through legacy (Workbook Practice 13)
Once your sense of overwhelm has lessoned it is time to further process your loss utilizing the 5 Principles discussed in this blog post about rebuilding after loss. These same principles are utilized in the RESTORED Workbook as your road map for working through loss. Here is a blog post about the RESTORED Road Map.
If you decide to utilize the "RESTORED" workbook, I encourage you to read the book in it's entirety and slow down to do the suggested exercises on the topics that you tend to focus your thoughts on as noted in the above phrases.
No matter where you are in your grief process, I enourage you to surround yourself with good listeners, reach out for help when you feel overwhelmed, use coping skills to regulate your stress and keep your good memories alive.
Check out these free links on navigating loss that may also be helpful:
Do you have a grief question? Comment below or submit your question: