Wellness Guide for the Bereaved: Establishing a Healthy Life After Grief
by Lucille Rosetti, thebereaved.org
Experiencing the death of a close loved one is one of the most stressful things that can happen to a person. In an instant, suddenly your entire life is changed as you face the reality of not having that someone in your life anymore. For many people, the trauma of loss can seriously alter their life and even their personalities to a degree.
In fact, dealing with grief can potentially harm one’s physical health — especially if they are older. Mourning the loss of a loved one increases the chance of heart disease, puts the person at risk of infection, aggravates physical pain and exacerbates the loss of appetite. That’s why it is so important for people who experience loss to work toward preserving their overall wellness. There are many ways one can be proactive in taking care of their health after the death of a loved one.
- Seek community from a bereavement support group. You can even find online groups that can help guide you through this difficult time.
- Make an appointment with a grief counselor.
- Focus on healthy nutrition.
- Find some helpful coping activities that honor your loved one.
- Practice mindfulness with meditation or yoga.
However, for some people, these things are not enough. They need a big change to help them move on and start their new life afresh.
Grief and Relocating
When a person is in the midst of grief, it consumes their every thought. When they are living in a house or area that is filled with memories of the deceased, it can make it even more difficult to get through the day with a clear head. As a result, many people choose to move after a certain amount of time has passed.
If you lived with the deceased, you may also find that your current home has too much space or is too expensive to maintain on your own. Typically, this is what precipitates a downsize. This often involves selling the old house and purchasing a new, smaller one, which could mean getting a mortgage. If the idea of a mortgage gives you cold feet, keep in mind there are many different options available, and each one has its own unique benefits. For instance, conventional mortgages offer a number of different down payment options; however, if you’re able to put 20 percent down, you won’t have to worry about covering the cost of a mortgage insurance payment.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of moving after a death is going through your loved one’s possessions and deciding what to keep and what should go. This process does not need to happen immediately, but it does need to happen. In sorting through your loved one’s items, determine what can be donated to family, close friends and charitable organizations. This way, their belongings can continue to be cherished or put to good use.
When it comes to finding a new place, it’s all about being in the right frame of mind. You should find something that’s affordable, but you should also take this opportunity to move somewhere that suits you. Maybe you want to be closer to family or an area that brings a sense of peace. Looking at a new place as an opportunity helps frame the experience in a positive light. You should also make sure your new home works for your specific needs. For example, if you’re a senior, you may want to consider any modifications needed to help you age in place. Or if you’re a dog owner, it’s best to find a home with a yard that’s fenced or plan to add one (on average, adding a wood fence in Tacoma costs between $1,956 and $4,568).
The change of scenery and a fresh start can be good for your overall health. However, the stress of moving can be overwhelming. When it is time to relocate, hire moving and packing services (a professional packer can be hired for $35 to $40 an hour) to help you with the heavy lifting and ensure the process goes smoothly. Professional movers are trained to lift heavy objects safely and without injury. The last thing you need is a pulled muscle or sprained ankle as you begin your new life. Just take a few moments to compare prices so you don’t have to put further financial pressure on yourself.
Losing a loved one is difficult and can fill a person full of negative emotions. For some people, a change of scenery is a salve for grief. If this sounds like the right approach, take it slow and consider all your options, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is a difficult time, but there is a way to see a light at the end of the tunnel.