- Written by Victor M. Parachin Victor M. Parachin
Grieving is taxing on mind, body, and spirit. While it can be tough to face each new day, the challenge can feel enormous when January emerges and a whole new year is stretching out before us.
Rather than allowing Jan. 1 to be a depressing date, consider these positive tips for facing the new year while still grieving.
1. Give yourself the physical rest you need. Grief is exhausting, so slow down your life and bring some relaxation into it, such taking time to read a book, view a movie, visit with a friend, and generally spend more time resting in your bed or on a sofa or armchair.
“Tired minds don’t plan well. Sleep first, plan later.” – Walter Reisch, director and screenwriter
2. Give yourself the mental rest you need. Grief is a powerfully negative experience. Work to soften that by engaging yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, positive reading material.
“Affirm the positive, visualize the positive, and expect the positive, and your life will change accordingly.” – Remez Sasson, self-improvement author
3. Give yourself the emotional rest you need. Rather than go it alone, consider meeting with a grief support group where the members share your burden, provide inspiration, and generate encouragement that you, too, can and will overcome grief.
“Ten minutes with a genuine friend is better than years spent with anyone less.” – Crystal Woods, author and public speaker
4. Give yourself the spiritual rest you need. If being part of a faith community has been important to you, remain connected. Worship, pray, study religious texts, consult with your spiritual leader. If you're the type of person who feels more spiritual than religious, consider spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, and spending ample time outdoors in nature.
“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.” – Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk
5. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. No person grieves perfectly. Grief recovery is a work in progress. There will be some stumbles. Be OK with those.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman, author
6. Give yourself the choice to heal. While the majority of grievers get through bereavement successfully, there are some who remain “stuck” with their grief.
The difference between the two comes down to choice: Give yourself the choice to adjust, adapt, and move your life forward.
“You can’t go back. You don’t get a do-over. This happened to you. So now what? Do you choose to live in pain and grief, or do you choose to heal? Make the choice, every day, every hour, sometimes every minute.” – Amy Florian, author
7. Give yourself the gift of patience. It’s going to take time to heal because the death of a loved one is deeply painful.
Pace yourself. Avoid pressuring yourself to “get over it.” And, don’t allow family and friends to rush you through grief, however well-meaning they may be.
“Recovery and adjustment can take much longer than most people realize. We need to accept whatever form it takes, both in ourselves and in others.” – Julia Samuel, psychotherapist
8. Give yourself the freedom to express gratitude. A small dose of gratitude can offset a large volume of sadness.
“Even in the toughest of times, there is something for which you can be thankful. What can you give thanks for today? Did support come from an unexpected place? Did someone say exactly what you needed to hear? Did a robin stop and sing on your windowsill? Blessings come in many forms. You may even wish to begin a gratitude journal in which you record how each day blessed you. Gratitude heals at a very deep level.” – Donna Miesbach, author
Victor M. Parachin, M.Div., is a grief counselor, bereavement educator, and author of several books, including Healing Grief.