Rebuilding your life after personal loss
Loss can take on many forms, from the simple loss of a mobile phone to the significant death of a loved one. Equally, in between there are life events such as loss of health, the death of a pet, a relationship breakdown, loss of job/career and moving away to a different area. During our lifetime it is unlikely that we will be able to avoid experiencing some kind of loss, along with the associated readjustment that comes with it.
One thing is sure, loss can turn your life upside down. It can evoke numerous and conflicting emotions. It can make you feel lost and alone in a world which once seemed calm and predictable.
Some people report feeling as if they are going mad, other people bury their loss away and carry on as normal. There is no time limit to getting over a loss. We are all unique in the way we cope and deal with loss, but we have to face that following any kind of loss, our lives will never be exactly the same again and to move forward successfully we need to find a certain degree of acceptance.
So, what steps can we take to rebuild our lives after personal loss?
Taking time to be with yourself and your emotions
You can have many conflicting emotions following a loss; shock, anger, disbelief, devastation. Just as there is no time limit to getting over a loss, there are no right or wrong emotions associated with it. Try to acknowledge how you feel about your loss without judgment. Taking time to listen to how you are feeling will help you to understand and begin to come to terms with your loss.
Taking care of yourself and treating yourself well
It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally as you begin to recover from your loss. Nurture your body with a good diet, exercise and try to get a good night’s sleep. If your loss happened some time ago and you are still struggling with physical symptoms, then it is worth getting checked out by your GP. Starting to care about yourself will reinforce that you are worthwhile.
Dealing with any practicalities
The type of loss you have experienced may have led to other losses, for example, if your marriage has broken down, your financial and home situation may have changed for the worse. In these cases it is important to get advice as soon as possible to try and alleviate any financial concerns.
Using your established support networks
Talking to close friends and family about how you are feeling is important as it will help you recover. They can be a good source of advice and guidance as you make your way through this period of your life. Sharing experiences with someone who has gone through the same thing may also help. If you don’t have an established support network, don’t be afraid to contact the many voluntary agencies that exist out there.
Starting to look to the future
Although your life will never be the same again that doesn’t mean that it won’t be as good or even better. For those of you who have been bereaved, the person you lost will always be part of your life and you will find ways to preserve their memory. As you start to look to the future this is also an opportunity for self-reflection, to find out what really makes your soul sing.