Experiencing any kind of loss in your life can be painful. But, when your significant other or spouse dies, it can completely turn your world upside down. People deal with grief in a variety of ways, and even in stages. Grieving is normal and can be healthy when it’s done the right way.
But, when you lose someone as important to you as a significant other, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy grieving habits. That might include things like isolating yourself from others, developing poor eating habits, or even turning to alcohol to find some kind of comfort.
You can recover after the death of a significant other. It’s understandable that dealing with loss is hard, and you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to just “get over it.” But, by practicing healthy habits and not letting yourself fall into depressive behaviors, you can recover from this devastating loss, and eventually help others to do the same.
Dealing With Depression and Isolation
Again, it’s normal to feel grief after someone close to you dies. You might not know what to do with yourself, and you might feel lost without that person. Because of those thoughts and feelings, it can be tempting to isolate yourself from others – even other people you love.
Social isolation is already a common issue among older adults, and after the death of a spouse, it can become even worse. But, struggling with loneliness and isolation can lead to bigger problems like:
- An increase in mortality
- More susceptibility to illness
- Increased risk of depression
Personal contact, group activities, peer support groups, and even animal contact can help you to deal with social isolation and loneliness before you start to fall too deeply into a depressed state.
If you do start to feel depressed, it’s important to get some kind of help as soon as possible. For some people, therapy is a viable option as it allows you to express your feelings to a professional, who can help you to move through the stages of grief in a healthy way. For others, depression becomes so serious that medication is needed.
A newer option for dealing with depression is to try CBD products, such as oil. CBD can help with stress and anxiety, but it’s also been shown to help your brain produce more serotonin, which can make you feel happier. It’s not a replacement for medications or therapy, but it can be used in conjunction with those things to deal with depression.
Finding Healthy Ways to Cope
It’s perfectly normal to find time to cry, and grieve, and feel upset about the loss of your significant other. There isn’t an ideal timeline for how long that takes or when you should/shouldn’t do it. But, one way to keep moving forward in your life is to find ways to cope with your loss.
Unfortunately, coping can lead to forming unhealthy habits. So, it’s important to make positive, healthy, practical choices as coping mechanisms. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do. Try learning a new instrument or taking a class on something you’ve always been interested in. Exercising, journaling, and meditation are also great ways to cope, and they can all help to reduce stress, too.
You can even take a vacation if you feel as though you need to “get away” for a while. Sometimes, removing yourself from things that remind you of your spouse, or just experiencing a change of scenery can help to give you some perspective.
Depending on where you go, you can even take advantage of your environment. For example, traveling to the beach in sunny Punta Cana wouldn’t just be relaxing, but you’d get the added benefit of Vitamin D, which can actually help with symptoms of sadness. You could even take a trip in your loved one’s honor – something you both always talked about doing. It can be a great way to heal and feel some closure after your loss.
Lean On Your Support System
One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t have to go through this loss alone. It might feel as though it weighs heavier on you than other people because you were the closest one to your partner, but others are undoubtedly hurting, too. Sharing in your grief and using one another for support can help you all to heal and move forward.
Family members and friends can help you from the start, with things like funeral arrangements and memorial ceremonies. They can take care of things like ordering food or putting together a memorial album. Those are things you might not want to think about right now, so leaning on your support system can be helpful.
When it comes to the emotional side of things, having support is important, too. It’s okay to accept people’s offers of help or tell people what you need from them, specifically. If you don’t want to talk to your friends or family about your grief, you may benefit from joining a support group or even a licensed counselor. Being able to talk to someone and feel understood throughout this process can help you take the first steps toward moving on with your life. That doesn’t mean ever forgetting your significant other, but it does mean living the rest of your life the way they would want you to, and honoring their memory.