Coping With Grief: How To Handle The Loss Of A Spouse

By: Jackie Waters
Friday, July 7, 2017

In your vows you say “til death do us part,” but you are never truly prepared for it. You’ve been married for years, experienced life’s ups and downs, and grown old together. Suddenly they are gone and you are overcome with emotion. There are a hundred ways for you to feel after the loss of your spouse, and those feelings may take weeks or even years to fade.

 

The fact that there’s no right way to handle grief makes it harder to deal with in some cases, as it can make you feel lost and alone. In general, the emotional stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, although they may not arrive in that order, and you may feel more than one of those emotions at a time. It’s normal, but it can take a toll on your physical and mental health if you don’t have the right tools to deal with it.

 

Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can cope with a loss to make it to the other side. Here are a few of the best.

 

Be kind to yourself

 

Keep in mind that grieving is hard on the body, mind, and soul, and it takes some time to get through it. There is no time limit or one particular way to cope, so it’s important to find something that works for you and remember to be patient.

 

Consider getting help

 

It’s never easy to go through something like the loss of a spouse alone, so consider getting help from a therapist or counselor, or seek out a service dog. Animals are wonderful aides where grief, depression, and anxiety are concerned and can help you relax and overcome stress. Consider joining a grief support group for seniors. You may find that talking with others who have experienced the exact loss you are going through brings a sense of comfort and peace.

 

Get creative

 

Art therapy is a wonderful way to cope with grief, and the great thing about it is that it can encompass many different areas depending on what you enjoy doing. Gardening, singing, dancing, painting, and writing are just a few examples of things you can do that will allow you a creative outlet and help you cope with your emotions. In addition, many of these suggestions can be performed by people of all ages and abilities – you don’t have to by a spry teen to put paint to canvas or sing your favorite tunes.

 

Practice self care

 

Ensuring that your needs are met is important during this time, no matter how much you may feel like climbing into bed and ignoring the world. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and can do regularly. Water aerobics is a great option because in addition to its low impact and physical benefits, being in the water can be calming and soothing. Eat a good balanced diet and get adequate rest. Both are necessary for your body and mind. Make sure you get to bed at a decent hour, don’t skip meals, and get in a workout every day, even if it’s just to take the dog for a long walk or go get the mail. Keep in mind that sometimes self-care requires help from others, especially if your spouse was a critical component of ensuring daily chores were complete. You may consider hiring a housekeeper to keep up with chores or ask a friendly neighbor to swing by and get your dog when they go on their weekly walks.

 

Allow yourself to feel

 

It’s tempting to want to push away the negative memories and emotions after a loss, but it’s important to face your feelings rather than trying to numb them with alcohol or other substances, which can only make things worse. Allow yourself to feel everything that comes naturally and learn – with the help of a counselor – how to handle those things one at a time. On those days when the grief and loneliness feel like too much to bear, rather than retreating to bed, bring out old photos and reminisce on all the beautiful memories and moments. Your spouse may not be here physically, but they are forever in your heart.

 

The grieving process looks different for everyone, so remember to stay true to yourself. Take as much time as you need, reach out for help when you need it, and be kind to yourself.

Art therapy -http://http://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/managing-emotions/grief-and-loss/coping-with-grief
hiring a housekeeper - https://www.care.com/c/stories/10231/the-housekeeping-guide-the-cost-of-housekeeping-services/
To face your feelings -http://www.webmd.com/balance/normal-grieving-and-stages-of-grief#1

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