When you experience a tragic loss, psychological and emotional effects will stay with you indefinitely, but you can’t dwell on it forever. Each person grieves in their own way, and you can’t judge yourself based on someone else’s ability to get over things quickly. There’s no right or wrong way to handle a tragedy, but there are some things that you can do to keep your mental health.
Once you get through the initial shock of the situation, you have a lot of work to heal and strengthen your mental health after a loss. You might be dealing with losing a home from a natural disaster, the death of a pet or a loved one or going through some stress over losing a job. Whatever the situation is that brought you to your breaking point, you must realize that you need positive actions to counter all the negativity of the situation.
The good news is that the despair won’t last forever. Humans are resilient, and you will learn to cope. Time does have a way of easing things, but it won’t erase all the pain. When all is said and done, you can emerge an even stronger person.
Some find that the pain lingers longer than others, but this is where you might have some unchecked grief that must be addressed. Loss can quickly become a mental health concern when a person is in the depths of despair and can’t find a way out.
Fifteen Ways to Help Your Mental Health After a Tragic Loss
When you first experience loss, you don’t know how to turn or what to do. However, it would help you find ways to renew and keep going. You have a family, friends, and a job that depends on you. Here are some ways to help ease the pain and become even stronger on the other side of grief.
1. Know That It’s Okay to Hurt and Cry After a Loss
You’ve been through a horrific ordeal, and the worst thing you can do is suppress these emotions. You must let them out and allow your tears to flow. Crying is healing as it gets all these emotions from the inside to the out.
People who don’t process their anguish are the ones that have major issues down the road. Counselors often advise that if you don’t handle the emotions and channel your grief proactively, you can slip into acute depression.
2. Acknowledge Your Painful Loss
It hurts when you lose someone you love through a tragic loss. Even strong people realize this kind of incident is more than they can handle. It’s okay to acknowledge that it hurts, and you don’t have to pretend everything is back to normal after the services.
It’s okay for you not to be okay, and you must acknowledge the pain you feel to handle and process it.
3. Remember the Good Times
Memories are something that no one can take from you. Whether you knew this person for a few years or a lifetime, you have a database full of reminiscences.
Laugh about the funny things they did and recall the love they showed to others that touched your heart. These memories can sustain you when the world feels cold and unkind and you need encouragement.
4. Get Back to a Normal Routine Quickly
Most employers allow a few days off for a person to grieve their loss, but some people need more. The key is to remember that getting back to your everyday life is better. The longer you’re off, the more time your mind has to wonder. Sometimes it’s scary to be alone with your thoughts when you’re reeling from a tragic loss.
5. Turn to Your Higher Power to Request Help With Your Mental Health
Strong people know their higher power is the first place they should turn to during tragic loss. Your faith will be tested during times like these, but it’s also when you can find the greatest fulfillment in your beliefs.
6. Surround Yourself with Positivity
Perhaps you had someone who was fatally wounded in the military. You will find that listening to the news and hearing about soldiers and war might be too much for you. Regardless of the situation, it would help if you found ways to only let the positivity in and keep the negativity at bay.
If you need to turn off the news feed on your phone, take a breather from social media, or keep the TV off, you must do what you need to for your mental health.
7. Seek Mental Health Therapy to Overcome the Sense of Loss
Therapists are trained professionals that help people through tragic loss every day. Finding a counselor you can talk to that can give tips and tricks to manage heartache are powerful ways to take control of your misery.
8. Do Something in their Honor
Losing someone you love is gut-wrenching, but you can take your pain and do something to honor their memory. One example of such was Stephanie Spillman. She was 31 years old when she received the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Rather than cowering in the shadows and going through this journey with her family, she decides to educate others. She became a voice for other women and brought national acknowledgment to this disease. According to UA History, she and her husband, Chris, worked to help fellow central Ohio folks with similar conditions for years.
While Spillman passed in 2009, they raised millions for Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital. So, to honor her work after her death, her husband worked with the hospital to add a special wing for breast cancer dedicated to her memory. This is just one of the numerous examples where the loss of someone is used to help others.
9. Use Artistic Expression to Cope with Loss
Some of the best songs ever written were during a time of tragic loss, and perhaps this is why the lyrics are so touching. For instance, when the Notorious B.I.G. was killed, his friends P. Diddy and Faith Evans got together and wrote a powerful song to grieve. The music included special memories of their dear friend.
Maybe you can write a song, a poem, or draw a picture to help with your sorrow. Being proactive and allowing these emotions to come out in another way can be healing.
10. Find Comfort in the Smallest of Things
Every person is different, and so is the path they choose when grieving. You must find something that brings you peace, such as a cardinal. Many folks believe that when a cardinal appears near you that it’s the spirit of a loved one that’s passed on coming to comfort her.
This tradition has been around for decades, but these little things bring peace and give you the power to keep going.