Getting Around

Managing Grief

"Stop, world, I want to get off"

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?

If so, stop for a moment and think. What else is going on in your life right now? Divorce? A promotion? Money problems? A new baby in the family?

All this "stuff' of life--both positive and negative--can complicate your grieving process.

If you're having a particularly bad day:

Try to pinpoint what might be complicating your grief. Just being aware gives you more control--and puts you back in the driver' s seat to make changes if necessary.

If you're having health problems:

See your doctor to make sure they're related to grief and not to an illness. Common physical responses to grief include insomnia, nervousness, overeating, under eating, headaches, and lack of energy. Your doctor can also provide additional emotional support.

If you are the primary care giver to small children or aging parents:

Don't hide your feelings or repress your grief because "you don't have time" to grieve. Eventually, those feelings will find you and erupt when you least expect it. Instead, make time to think about your loved one. After you put the children to bed, sit and reminisce with a photo album--or simply relax and do nothing--for at least a half-hour every evening.

If you're getting married or involved in a wedding:

Recognize that the wedding day might be difficult for you because your loved one won't be there. Get prepared ahead of time by attending a support group; on the big day, surround yourself with as many supportive people as possible.

If you've had past mental health problems:

Understand that grieving may be even more painful for you. Consider making an appointment with your therapist; check out a new support group.

If you've experienced multiple crises, such as major losses or deaths, over the last several years: Recognize that your grief may be overwhelming at times and that you might even grieve past losses all over again.

If you abuse alcohol or drugs:

Seek professional help before your problem gets worse. Alcohol or drugs can't shield you from grief forever.

If you're involved in a divorce:

Realize that your spouse, who may have been a support in the past, probably won't be there for you now; understand your vulnerability. Check out self-help books and videos. Seek new friends by attending a support group or volunteering in the community.

If you have money troubles:

First, always be honest with your creditors. Second, take the burden off yourself; call Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a debt-management organization that contacts your creditors and sets you up on a monthly payment plan. If possible, ask family and friends for loans.

If you don't have a strong support system:

Be aware that family, friends, and coworkers can either make or break your grieving process. If family and friends are far away, get involved with a church or volunteer for a community group; if you're having trouble concentrating at work, tell your boss what you're going through.

Most importantly, realize and accept that you need support. Yes, you will grieve--indeed, you must grieve--but while you're doing so, everything else in your life must and will go on. There's a certain strength in knowing you need help--and then reaching out to get it.