How to Avoid Self-Imposed Isolation When Mourning

Are you shying away from your support system? Are you turning down invitations from friends or relatives to join them for dinner or a family barbeque? Are you choosing to walk alone instead of with your old walking buddies? If so, you are not merely isolating yourself from needed social contact when mourning, you are actually delaying the healing from your great loss.

The many studies on the subject of social interaction and its relationship to health and longevity have made it abundantly clear: your social circle plays a major role in mitigating stress and stimulating the healing process.

This does not mean that you shun all time to be alone. We need quiet time as much as interactive time. Solitude replenishes the inner life and allows us to balance the constant buzz and attention that often occurs when mourning a major loss.

However, it is important to understand that the love and support of friends and relatives can affect the way you feel about yourself at a time when sadness and depression often take a great toll on energy and your spirits. This is one of those times when mourning, that it is essential to do what you dislike doing, and get involved with others in a social setting. You may want to look at it as a diversion, a necessary diversion that is part of your grief work.

Diversions when mourning are essential in order to relieve the mind of constantly thinking about the loss. The grief process in itself is hard work and saps energy. It is perfectly normal to seek a time out away from the sadness and pain. In fact, it is important to schedule a time each day to give yourself special care and do something just for you–even if you don’t feel like it.

If you want to change your isolating behavior, start by changing your beliefs. Beliefs are the powerhouse for behaviors. Often our beliefs about grief and what we should do are picked up from poor grief models early in life. If, for example, you were taught to believe that the depth of your love for the deceased is expressed by how long you grieve, or that it is disrespectful to find a moment of enjoyment even while you are mourning, these beliefs will bring unnecessary suffering.

Carefully examine why you are isolating yourself and consider changing unhealthy beliefs. We all have them. In any event, make a commitment to yourself that you will speak to at least three people each day and accept invitations that will get you out of the house and interacting with others.

To summarize, uncover the hidden beliefs that are limiting your healthy grief work. Recognize the vast importance of the love being expressed to you by members of your support network. It will greatly assist you in gradually reinvesting your emotional energy in rewarding pursuits. Love will open your mind and heart to find meaning in your great loss and lead you to reinvesting in life.

Setting Up a Support Network for a Grieving Family

Setting Up a Support Network for a Grieving Family – 6 Suggestions

Providing assistance to a grieving family can be an invaluable gift of support. But how and when to help a family can be a difficult and tricky question because even the grief stricken family won’t always know what they need or want. One thing for certain though, a grief support network should be setup. Below are guidelines to assist you:

1. Put one trusted person in charge as the main support person. Perhaps that person can be in charge of assisting with household operations or staying with the family. The support person should be someone other than an immediate family member.

2. The main support person can delegate to other volunteers. Others can be in charge of various tasks ranging from babysitting to planning meals. Volunteers should report back to the main person in charge to avoid confusion or more upset to the family.

3. Consider having the support person stay with the family. The person should at least be there during the day to help with phone messages as well as the deliveries of remembrance gifts, condolences, food and sympathy flowers. Even if the family needs to be alone, the support person could stay in a separate part of the home.

4. Try to have someone relieve the support person periodically. Sometimes well-wishers, deliveries and the phone calls can be exhausting for the main support person. If there are issues that arrive when this main contact person is away, all helpers should still contact him or her so the family is not disturbed.

5. The support network should respect the choices of the grieving family. Although it may be hard to understand some of the family’s choices, it is important to accept the family’s decisions. Just know that setting up an effective communication network during the initial stages of grief can with preventing any extra stress on the family.

6. As a friend who wants to help, be sensitive to the complete picture of grief. Instead of assuming what the family needs to hear or do, take guidance from the bereaved and the situation. In the beginning, don’t place too much on the family’s plate either, such as giving suggestions for coping or asking when thank you notes will be written. Most things can wait until the family requests guidance or may not need to be addressed at all.

Grief and Loss: Helpful and Unhelpful Strategies to Coping With the Loss of a Loved One

Although it’s said there is no right or wrong way to grieve, I prefer to say that there are in fact helpful and unhelpful ways to grieve. To transform grief we need to take action. If we do nothing and expect the pain to go with time we will still experience it years later. If we take action that is unhelpful, then we will still experience pain later on.

Unhelpful ways to grieve consist of using drugs and alcohol as a way of moderating the pain. Whilst in the short term these might help us forget, it is only temporarily. Once the effects of the drugs or alcohol wear off, we are still left with the feelings we’ve been trying to hide from.

Telling everyone that we are fine and trying to continue on as if nothing is wrong is another unhelpful way to grieve. You don’t need to spill your heart out to anyone but simply acknowledging that you are not OK but doing your best allows you to start transforming your grief. Our worlds become shattered after the loss of a loved one. It is our right to acknowledge that something is wrong and that we don’t know how we are going to cope.

Pushing emotions away is another unhelpful way to grieve. Again, acknowledging emotions is not about spilling your heart out to anyone, it’s about admitting to yourself that you hurt and you do feel that emotion. It is about giving yourself permission to feel the pain so that you can let it go. When we don’t acknowledge our feelings we tend to indulge in things like eating too much, watching too much telly, using drugs and alcohol and even overcompensating with too much exercise.

The most helpful way to make sure that you can cope with the loss of a loved one is to make sure that you have a great support network in place. This can be family or friends. You might not want to talk and share your feelings with them but just knowing that they are there to tell you they care and/or give you a hug can make the world of a difference.

If you need more support you can get yourself a grief counsellor or coach. Sometimes having someone impartial to listen to you in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

Another helpful way is to take action. After loss we might feel like taking to our beds and not eat nor drink as we sit with our pain. This won’t help us. Getting up and eating something, going for a walk, picking up the phone to speak to someone are all actions that can help move us forward after the loss of a loved one.

As you read this reflect upon the things you have been doing since you lost your loved one and ask yourself are they helpful to you or unhelpful? Then ask yourself what do you need to do more the same of and what do you need to do differently?