We are in the middle of summer and life is moving at breakneck speed, but I wanted to take some time to slow down and continue our discussion about grief. To follow up on my last Badge and Gun column, I feel it is important to share some ways you can help yourself and others through difficult seasons.
I know many of us – for the most part – prefer direct and to-the-point commentary, so I’m structuring this month’s article as a list of Dos and Don’ts related to grief.
Regardless of whether you are struggling with grief or feel you have worked through the process fairly well, the following list contains helpful suggestions when you lose someone close to you.
Dos for yourself:
- Attend the funeral, if able.
- Be aware that grief can elicit insecurities about your health/stage of life concerns etc.
- Give yourself time to grieve…there is not a timeline.
- Take good care of yourself through rest, exercise and nutrition.
- Lean on spiritual connections.
- Talk with others who are grieving.
- Find ways to honor your loved one.
- Attend therapy, if needed.
Don’ts for yourself:
- Do not bottle up your feelings, use alcohol, or other substances to numb emotions.
- Do not avoid talking about your loss or your loved one.
- Do not disengage or isolate yourself from others.
- Do not make rash decisions or sudden life changes.
- Honor the individual by avoiding gossip or speculation.
There are times when we feel as if we have worked through our grief pretty well, but may not know how best to support those who may be grieving around us.
Again, I’ll list out the Do’s and Don’ts for supporting others in their grief.
Dos for supporting others:
- Offer practical assistance–meals, cards, texts to check in, babysit, grocery shopping or errand runs.
- Visit, call and check up on them.
- Share special memories and listen, encourage and laugh together.
- Above all else—ACT NORMAL…don’t be weird or awkward around them.
- Encourage interactions with others.
- Allow for sadness.
Don’ts for supporting others:
- Avoid them because it is awkward, or you worry about saying the wrong thing.
- Do not let people suffer alone. Be a friend.
- Do not encourage drinking or other maladaptive coping.
- Please do not tell people it is time to get over it or move on.
- Never suggest you know how they feel.
As always, we at Psychological Services (832-394-1440) are here to support you and/or offer guidance as you support others.