Losing your spouse is one of the most agonizing experiences one can go through during their life, but we promise, it gets better. While it’s truly painful to say goodbye to the one you love the most, the faster you move on after the death of your spouse, the better. We understand how painful this process could be, and we’re completely aware of the incredible strength it takes to handle the grief and heal—but in the end, it’ll be all worth it.
With that being said, let’s get right into it. If you’re currently trying to cope with the death of your spouse, we’ve got you covered. This article gives you the ten best tips to help you heal faster and get your life together.
1. Allow Yourself to Feel Sad
Feeling happy again after the death of your loved one won’t happen overnight. And it surely won’t happen if you don’t give yourself enough time to feel sad about the death of your spouse. Accept that healing from the loss of a spouse takes some time—slowly but surely, you can get there by letting out all of the negative emotions and sorrow inside you.
The circumstances of the death, emotional support, religious and cultural background, and past losses can all impact how you grieve. So, don’t compare your experience to those of others, and don’t get disappointed if you can’t move on as quickly as they could.
It’s OK to be sad at the beginning. You have your own unique experience, so don’t be hard on yourself in this step because it’s usually the hardest. Even if it means daily crying sessions, give yourself the time and permission to feel the deepest emotions you have for your spouse.
2. Seek Emotional Support
Those who receive emotional support from their family and friends are less likely to experience emotional pain when they go through a traumatic experience like losing a spouse. While healing takes time, surrounding yourself with trusted friends and family members can significantly speed up the process and make you feel well again.
The healing process also requires spending time with those who go through or going through the same difficult situation you are in. Finding a support group can be life-saving, especially if you recently lost your spouse and are trying to learn how to cope with this loss. You can also find a group whose members have suffered losses that are comparable to yours, such as the loss of a child or parent.
- Note: check out forums on the internet if you can’t find a support group in your neighborhood.
3. Honor Your Spouse
Fulfilling the requests of your spouse that they explicitly made before their death is an important step towards healing. You can either do this regularly or honor them just once before trying to move on. By doing so, you get rid of any feelings of guilt or any barriers that are still in your mind.
Even if your spouse passed away unexpectedly and did not have any last wishes, consider ways to pay tribute to them. There are several ways to honor your late spouse. For example, you could visit their grave and leave a beautiful bouquet of flowers, talk to them, light a candle in their honor, or do any activity you enjoyed together.
4. Know that Grief is NOT Depression
To heal healthily, it’s important to understand the differences between grief and depression. Although the two concepts appear similar, grief and depression are fundamentally different. Knowing the difference enables you to seek therapy if your grief develops into depression.
Depression can also have some symptoms of grief. Grief usually results in despair, sadness, mourning, crying, low energy, loss of appetite, poor concentration, poor sleep, feelings of guilt, and sad and happy memories.
On the other hand, depression results in feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, helplessness, suicidal thoughts, extreme guilt, extreme fatigue, severe weight loss, and loss of interest in life in general.
Finally, ask yourself how you feel when you think of your spouse. Do you find joy or comfort in your pleasant memories together? Or do you experience a void and a sense of loss that even your happiest memories together cannot fill?
The first indicates healthy grief that you need to experience to heal, while the latter could indicate depression that may require therapy.
5. Don’t Stress About Not Forgetting Your Spouse
A very important part of the healing process is to allow yourself to get busy with life without feeling guilty. Instead of sitting in your room your whole life doing nothing but crying and feeling depressed, becoming busy with life will help you heal healthily and remember the sweet moments you had together whenever you choose to. Know that you cared about your spouse so much that you stayed by their side until the end.
Your spouse doesn’t want to see you depressed. They want you to stay strong and keep fighting through life. Being busy with life is natural, and it doesn’t mean that you disrespect or forget about your spouse. It just means you do what you must live your best life.
6. Hit the Gym
If there’s only one thing that can help you eliminate these negative feelings and help you heal faster, it’s going to the gym. Exercise benefits go beyond increased muscle mass and cardio fitness—regular exercise can significantly enhance your mental well-being and make you feel more optimistic about yourself and your life. It’s a potent treatment for many mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Additionally, it lowers stress, promotes good sleep, and improves your mood in general.
It’s difficult to do intense physical activities during this difficult time of your life—we completely understand. But if you want to get out of this bubble of sadness as quickly as possible, you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone and do things that make you feel better. Additionally, even moderate-intensity exercise can significantly affect your overall mood. Just do what you can, and don’t be hard on yourself.
7. Be an Active Part in the Lives of Others
Helping other people feel better will help you feel better as well. When you have enough energy, spend your free time improving other people’s lives.
Getting a cat can be a great option if you don’t have the time or energy for high-maintenance pets like dogs. You can even adopt pets from shelters and take care of them. This will make you feel that your life has meaning to other creatures and will positively impact your own life.
8. Pursue Your Dreams
Making your dreams come true can help you fill the emptiness you feel after losing your spouse. By chasing your dreams and doing what you’re passionate about, you’ll feel better about yourself and make new friends. Consequently, you’ll come to understand that living life alone can still be exciting and fulfilling.
So, keep grinding, and never give up on your dreams until you can finally say, ‘never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d be living this incredible life!’.
9. Understand that Drugs and Alcohol Will Not End Your Pain
Drugs and alcohol are one of the worst coping mechanisms you can resort to if you want to move on after the death of your spouse. Drinking too much alcohol or excessively taking drugs will make you end up feeling even more, worse than before.
Instead, we recommend that you do more productive and healthy activities to cope with your loss, such as exercising.
10. Consider Going to a Therapist
If nothing works, going to a therapist should be your last resort. Many people who need to seek therapy don’t know they do or don’t admit it. A therapist is the only person who has seen numerous people in the same situation and knows the best course of action to help you heal properly. Therapy saves you time and guarantees you are on the right track.
When it comes to moving on after the death of your spouse, it’s easier said than done. But no matter how agonizing this death is, you don’t want to be depressed your whole life, do you?
So, all you have to do now is follow the tips mentioned above to a tee, have patience, and keep moving forward. Even if things may look bad now, you have a good plan to improve things.