Tips for dealing with grief and bereavement

Tips for dealing with grief and bereavement

If someone you know dies, life gets a lot more real. One lovely mook offers tips for dealing with grief in the hope that you might (in her words) learn from her mistakes. What a kind and gracious mook!

People die, it’s a fact of this lovely thing we have christened “life”. However, the people who deal with death are not the deceased themselves but their loved ones. Deciding to make the best of terrible situations and emotional states is about a gajillion times more difficult than Doctor Phil and Oprah make it seem. Losing a loved one makes life get a whole lot more real; Sh*t hits home, not to mention the proverbial fan.

This is a combination list of do’s and don’ts when dealing with grief. I recommend it; it’s all compiled from personal experience.

Don’t get plastered at a party. You will get to know that damn porcelain pony far too well. You’ll also cry and be miserable to a friend or ten who are all trying their hardest to juggle having a good time and taking turns to look after you. Then you’ll feel sh*t the next morning – embarrassed and hung over isn’t a pretty combination. However, if you feel that alcohol will make life more tolerable, do it with fewer people and have yourself a good old fashioned whinge.

Do get as much sleep as possible. By god, you’ll need it. If you aren’t getting the recommended amount, try watching THE SOUND OF MUSIC. You may have a real problem getting a decent sleep at night but make a conscious effort to make getting your full quota of sleep if you can.

Don’t stay at home more than you need to. Get out. Go for a walk, even. See as many friends as possible. Try to make new friends. Go and play with puppies or kittens whatever floats your cute-boat. Just leave. Being sad is harder in a group of the notoriously happy.

Do allow yourself to mourn. It’s natural and everyone does it differently.

Do get a hobby. Be it horse riding, lawn bowls, macramé, bass guitar or getting fit. Focus that energy on something enjoyable. Your hobby will also reward you with bragging rights. ( I now fold disused math books into interesting shapes, ladies).

Don’t unleash all the furies of hell on the world. Try to release anger in productive ways. Write letters to politicians, friends or Justin Beiber that you probably shouldn’t send. Talk things through rationally. Write, punch things, and sing really out of tune to people with perfect pitch. Just make sure that letting out the storm of hate welling inside of you doesn’t completely ruin your entire existence.

Do the physically active thing. Just be active. It gets anger out and it helps even out those 7 bars of depression chocolate consumed. (Incidentally, did you know that food scientists claim peas work in the same way as chocolate? Wasabi peas may genuinely help with the blues.) You don’t have to be an athlete – just try to keep your diet and exercise stable otherwise you’ll feel gross and more so unattractive.

Do seek help. Councillors are amazing people. I’m told they love having d&m’s.

Biggest do of all: Lean on close friends. They know you and love you. Just do it (trust me, I am a professional at this). If not, get a dog. Dogs are better than people generally and make excellent friends. Just find some unconditional lovin’.

Basically, all of these were to some extent trialled and tested by your truly. Working through grief and bereavement is not the happiest, sunniest aspect of life but it’s one that needs to be addressed.