Talk about your loss, and acknowledge your emotions
The wave of emotions felt after losing a loved one can be uncomfortable, but normal. Accepting and acknowledging your emotions could mean seeking counseling to process your thoughts, learn healthy coping skills, and prevent negative thoughts.1
Prioritize self-careNourishing foods, exercise, resuming a hobby, and sleep are critical to wellbeing. It’s not always possible but making the effort to take care of yourself—both physically and emotionally—can aid the grieving process.1
Find ways to honor your loved oneIt can be comforting to explore ways to best honor and memorialize your loved one. It could be planting a tree in their honor, volunteering for a cause they believed in, or doing things they enjoyed.2
Avoid making major decisionsIf possible, consider avoiding making big changes or decisions after losing a loved one. During times like these, emotions can be high, which could negatively affect your decision-making or lead to choices you might not otherwise make. Although it’s not always possible, try to take your time and approach key decisions with a level head.
Plan ahead for difficult timesMilestones such as the anniversary of your loved one's death, their funeral, their birthday, or holidays can be emotionally challenging. Planning ahead may not eliminate the varying emotions that may arise, but if you mentally prepare, milestones are less likely to take you by surprise.
Sometimes you’re not able to predict the emotions that follow when painful memories arise or during milestones.1 Although emotions may come and go, consider planning an event or activity that will be meaningful and comforting. Reaching out to friends and family and letting them know you may need extra time or attention are also options.
Consider support groups
Anticipate potential family conflicts after a loss
Whether it’s failure to properly plan for financial obligations or end-of-life decisions, perceived favoritism, or overall heightened emotions, organized plans and documents don’t guarantee a lack of family conflict.3