The loss of a loved one, a sudden disability, or a shocking diagnosis can leave you feeling bereft and adrift. Oddly enough, it can also leave you with many hours to fill. Regardless of the cause of your tragedy, planning activities to help you move forward can lessen your pain.
Writing in a journal may be a tough habit to start if you don’t already have a diary and you’re not accustomed to recording your thoughts. To reduce your discomfort, build journaling into another habit. If you start your day with coffee in the morning, put the journal and a pencil on the table beside your cup. Simply list the time of day, how you’re feeling and some of the tasks you hope to accomplish. Journals help to build mindfulness and awareness of your feelings. A simple way to encapsulate the journal process is to set a timer for ten to fifteen minutes. Write whatever comes to mind during this interval and put the journal away when the beeper goes off. Over time, you’ll look forward to journaling as a way to free your mind.
You may be uncomfortable in public after a terrible loss. Others may not know what to say or how to connect with you. Start a home improvement project to take your mind off things and enjoy some time alone. Add solar lights to a front walk for safety, or plant flowers on your patio. A new driveway sealcoat can boost your home’s value and curb appeal in addition to keeping you busy.
In addition to building a new journaling habit and starting a home project, pay attention to your old routine. If you cooked on a daily basis and enjoyed it, get back to it. If reading was your favorite pursuit, pick up a favorite book and find a comfortable chair. Many who suffer tragedy develop high levels of stress. Experts find that getting back into a routine can lower your stress over the long-term and reduce the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Tragedies are a source of terrible shock. They cause a huge, rapid change in our lives. To move through the grief process, we sometimes need to develop new habits or engage in new activities. Remember that grief is personal, and it can’t be processed on a schedule. Your focus needs to be on what you need to do to feel like yourself again. Rebuilding your life will require you to be patient and gentle with yourself.