The death of a loved one sets off profound grief that can affect every part of someone's life. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, grieving people often feel overwhelmed and unable to tolerate their feelings. Here are seven things that bereaved people should know:
1. It will get better. Some studies say there is a 2-year grief cycle before life really begins to resemble something normal.
2. You can handle the grief. Move through the pain by making space for it. Take breaks, go for a walk, stretch or sit quietly.
3. Nap, sleep more and drink water. Grief is exhausting, so be kind to yourself. Try to avoid alcohol, since it might worsen the grief.
4. When grief hits, think about it as a loop. Your calm might suddenly give way to sadness and crying, but that's not the end. The calm place will return and you will come back to serenity.
5. It's not just sadness. Grief can be a collection of emotions—anger, regret, relief, fear, grief, sadness, loss, and guilt. All these feelings are normal.
6. Look for the meaning. Some people have said grief itself seems useless—just more pointless suffering. But you might also find room for a sense of peace, or it might realign your priorities. Be open to meaning.
7. Proceed gently. Take a bath, avoid emotional TV shows or movies, but enjoy old favorites. Try not to make huge, impulsive changes in your life or lifestyle. Maybe quitting the job you love shouldn't happen right now.