When a loved one dies, it might feel like there's no end to your feelings of pain and loss. Indeed, grieving can be one of the most difficult processes you'll ever have to go through. However, there is hope and there are ways that you can find comfort in the midst of your grief.
Eight Ways to Find Comfort While Grieving
There's no one-size-fits-all plan for finding comfort during the grieving process; try a few techniques and do what feels right for you. Remember, what works for one person might not work for another.
1. Adopt a Pet
When your loved one is no longer around to greet you when you return home, your home can feel like a lonely and empty place. According to Focus on the Family, adopting a pet can be a helpful way of finding comfort during the grieving process and may help to fill the void. Of course, this won't work for everyone, and if you're not an animal person, you might need to find an alternative way of filling your home with light again, perhaps by tending to your garden or purchasing some cheery indoor plants.
2. Connect With Others
Even if you don't have close family members to lean on during times of grief, you can still connect with others in a way that can provide you with comfort. It might take a bit of searching to find the right people, but you shouldn't have to suffer alone. Sometimes grief can make you feel like shutting the door on others and isolating yourself. However, the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing suggests trying to be open to the love and support of people who care about you. Ask for what you need. Others might want to help but don't always know how. If you don't yet have a strong support network, some of the ways you might connect with others include:
- Joining a bereavement group, (you can even join an online group if you prefer)
- Reaching out to neighbors
- Volunteering in a community organization
3. Lean On Your Faith
Faith can be a tremendous source of comfort if you are someone who follows a particular religious tradition, according to psychologists Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. in an article for Help Guide. Activities like prayer, quiet contemplation or talking to a trusted clergy member can help, but so can a simple visit to your place of worship. If you're not religious at all, you can try connecting to a higher power through nature by visiting the beach, hiking a trail or walking through the park.
4. Cultivate Your Interests
Engaging in life as much as you can by developing your hobbies and interests can provide you with much-needed distraction and help renew your sense of control according to a study from Stanford University. If you and your loved one shared a hobby, engaging in that activity might be helpful, or perhaps you need to find a completely new hobby or activity. Consider joining an adult education class at a local university or join a hobby group at your community center.
5. Establish a Ritual
Rituals can offer comfort by providing a way for you to stay connected to and memorialize your loved one. The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing suggests activities like planting a tree in honor of your loved one, framing a favorite photograph or giving back to your community in your loved one's name.
6. Consider Grief Counseling
Some people find comfort by speaking to professional grief counselors or other licensed mental health professionals trained in grief and loss. Grief counseling can be beneficial if you are really struggling with intense emotions or have a hard time coping, according to Smith and Segal. You can find qualified grief counselors throughout the world through the searchable online database of the organization GriefLink.
7. Be Creative
Expressing your emotions through a creative outlet can be extremely healing and comforting, and according to grief expert and physician Dr. Kirsti A. Dyer, can help lift your spirits. Even if you don't think you are an inherently creative person, try experimenting with different mediums, such as music, art, writing, cooking or even home decorating.
8. Take Care of Yourself
Comforting yourself can be one of the most nourishing ways of dealing with grief. Psychologist Chris Rothman of the Center for Grief Recovery suggests some ways you might take care of yourself:
- Taking a soothing bath
- Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
- Lie in the sun
- Gentle exercises like yoga or tai chi
Time Will Help You Heal
At times, it might feel like you're just going through the motions, but keeping a regular routine and maintaining realistic expectations for what you can and cannot handle can also be a way of finding comfort. Remember that the grieving process takes time. By trying to comfort yourself as much as possible, reaching out to others and starting to engage in the world around you, things will eventually become easier and your pain will, hopefully, start to lessen.