I have been thinking a lot about survival lately. I believe we all have. Living in the time of a pandemic, war, or famine causes this type of thinking. Remember at the beginning of the pandemic how suddenly toilet paper was sold out? I later saw a toilet paper advertisement that had the slogan, “We will keep you rolling…” A cute way to frame such an odd shortage.
At a biological level, we are driven to survive. When our survival is at risk we endure, we solve, and we fight. Is it surprising then that the first thing we need to do in navigating our loss is to make sure our basic needs are met?
Here are 3 basic needs to consider prior to dealing with the many emotions and changes that come with grief.
1. Do you feel safe? If not try this…
Ask a neighbor, good friend, or family member to check in with you before they go to sleep. Here this voice can ease tension and knowing someone cares lightens your load.
Ask a handy person to come make sure all windows and doors are locked and secured. You may also consider getting a chime sound for when doors are opened, a doorbell with a camera, and/or an alarm system.
Borrow a dog. This temporary companion will be alert for you so you can rest easy. Once you have seen if this dog is helpful, over several weeks, you may consider finding the right one for you.
2. Are you able to pay the bills? If not try this…
Call a local hospice, church, or agency. Tell them you have lost someone and ask where to find financial guidance or financial assistance programs.
Ask a trusted advisor to come over and help you sort out the finances.
Apply for bereavement leave at work so you have a moment to gather your thoughts and plans.
3. Are you making it through the day? If not try this…
Create a basic daily routine to create a small amount of stability in your life. Try to include wake time, exercise, grieving time, activity time, meals, and bedtime.
Seek a coffee date with a friend who helps you feel “like yourself” again. A listening ear and faithful presence go a long way.
Seek additional support from a mentor, counselor, or spiritual advisor.
Once we have our basic needs met, we will discover a secure foundation. With this reestablished foundation we can further navigate loss.
What is one basic need you need to fill this week?
We will take one more step in navigating loss together in Part 2.