Grief and loss are a difficult part of life, but no one is exempt. Losing a loved one can feel like the most devastating experience you will ever endure. I recently chatted with Danita Jenae on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast about how to handle life’s rock-bottom experiences. If you missed that episode, you can listen here: How To Handle Life’s Rock Bottom Experiences – Episode 203. Losing a loved one can certainly feel like hitting rock bottom, so I wanted to share some hope for how to rebuild your life after losing a loved one.
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things a person can go through. The grief and sadness can be overwhelming and can make it seem impossible to move on with your life. But it is possible to rebuild your life after losing a loved one.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
When you experience a loss, it can feel like your world has been turned upside down. You may feel like you will never be able to get over your grief and move on with your life. However, it is possible to start over after a loss. I hope to share things you can do to cope with your grief and begin to rebuild your life.
Starting Over After a Loss: What to Do and How to Cope
1. Take Care of Yourself
Acknowledge your grief. It is important to allow yourself to feel the pain of your loss. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend they don’t exist. Cry if you need to and talk about your feelings with friends and family members.
Grief can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Make sure to get plenty of rest and eat healthy meals. Avoid alcohol and drugs, which can make your grief worse.
Be patient with yourself. Grief is a process, and it takes time to heal. Don’t expect to feel better overnight. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve and heal.
In his pain, Elijah was honest with God, and God took care of him: “The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook” (1 Kings 17:6 NIV).
2. Give Yourself Time to Grieve
When you lose a loved one, it is normal to feel a range of intense and confusing emotions. You may feel numb, shocked, and sorrowful. These are all normal reactions to grief. It is important to give yourself time to grieve.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is a process that is unique to each individual. Some people may find themselves crying often, while others may feel numb and disconnected from their emotions. There is no timeline for grief, and it is important to allow yourself to experience it in whatever way feels natural for you.
God gives us grief as a gift, but we don’t grieve without hope. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT).
3. Seek Out Support from Family and Friends
If you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to reach out to your loved ones for support. Your family and friends can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a helpful sounding board when you’re feeling lost. Talking to others who have experienced a loss can be helpful. If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in your loved ones about your mental health, there are other sources of support available to you.
There are many mental health support groups available online and in person. These groups can provide a safe space to share your experiences and connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV).
4. Join a Support Group
When you lose a loved one, it’s natural to feel isolated and alone. Grief can be a very isolating experience. A support group can provide you with the companionship and understanding that you need during this difficult time.
A support group can provide a sense of community and connection. It can be a place to share your feelings and experiences with others who are going through similar situations. A support group can also provide practical advice and support.
If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, consider seeking out a support group. It can be a valuable resource during this difficult time. If you’re not sure where to find a support group, your doctor or therapist may be able to help you. You can also search online for support groups in your area.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
5. Seek Professional Counseling
If you’re struggling with grief or other mental health issues, it’s important to seek professional counseling. A counselor can help you understand and manage your symptoms, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and provide support.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).
There are many types of counselors, so it’s important to find one that’s a good fit for you. Ask your friends or family for referrals or look for counselors who specialize in treating your particular issue.
Once you’ve found a counselor you’re comfortable with, be open and honest about your symptoms and concerns. It may be difficult to talk about personal matters, but your counselor is there to help you.
If you’re not sure whether counseling is right for you, consider talking to your doctor or a trusted friend or family member.
They may be able to offer additional support and resources.
6. Lean on Your Faith
When life gets tough, it can be helpful to lean on your faith. Doing so can help you feel closer to God and can give you strength to face whatever challenges you’re facing. Additionally, faith can provide you with a sense of peace and calm during difficult times. If you’re struggling, consider reaching out to your faith community for support. Additionally, there are many resources available online and in books that can help you deepen your faith.
It is often in our deepest grief that we have the opportunity to choose to either walk away from God or to lean into Him for his comfort, care, and provision. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NIV).
7. Take Care of Yourself Physically
Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Make sure to take care of yourself physically by:
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking breaks when you feel overwhelmed or stressed
- Seeing your doctor regularly
- Taking care of any physical health conditions you have
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Cor. 6:19)
Because our body is the temple of the living God, we should treat them with the highest level of respect and dignity. Caring for your physical body in times of loss and grief is vital to your emotional well-being.
8. Find New Hobbies and Interests
If you’re looking for ways to expand your horizons and try new things, seeking out new hobbies and interests is a great place to start. Trying new things can not only help you learn more about the world around you, but can also introduce you to new people and experiences that you never would have otherwise had. Doing something that you enjoy can help take your mind off your loss and give you a sense of purpose.
One great way to find new hobbies and interests is to simply ask around. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues and see if they have any suggestions for things you might like to try. You can also look online for lists of hobbies and interests that you can pursue.
Once you have a few ideas, it’s time to start exploring! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You might just find that you love it. So why not give one of these a go?
A. Pick up a new sport
Have you always wanted to learn to play tennis or take up golf? Now’s your chance. There are plenty of sports clubs and lessons available, so you can pick up a new skill in no time.
B. Take up a new musical instrument
If you’ve always fancied learning to play the piano or guitar, now’s your chance. There are plenty of classes and resources available online and in your local area.
C. Get into gardening
Gardening is a great way to relax and get some fresh air. You can start small with a few pots on your balcony or go all out and create a beautiful garden.
D. Join a book club
If you love reading, why not join a book club? This is a great way to meet new people and discuss the books you’re reading.
E. Learn a new language
Learning a new language is a great way to connect with people from other cultures. It can also be really useful if you’re planning a trip overseas.
F. Start a blog
Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas with the world. You can blog about anything you like, from your hobbies to your travels.
G. Get into photography
Whether you’re a budding amateur or a professional photographer, there’s always more to learn. Photography is a great way to capture memories and moments.
H. Join a walking group
Walking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. There are often walking groups available in your local area.
9. Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering your time is a great way to give back to your community. There are many organizations that rely on volunteers to help them with their mission. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. If you are looking for a way to give back, consider volunteering your time.
A famous psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Meninger, was speaking at a conference when he was asked by an audience member, “What do you recommend if someone is down and not sure they can go on?” The audience was certain that, being a psychiatrist, Dr. Meninger would suggest medication. Instead, his answer surprised them, “I would tell them to walk out that back door, walk across the street and across those railroad tracks and find someone to help.” What Dr. Meninger knew, that is so important for us to realize, is that by helping others, we take our focus off ourselves and our own hurts, and in turn, we often receive a blessing by having blessed someone else.
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifice God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
10. Spend Time With Nature
We all know that spending time in nature can have a calming effect on the mind and body, but did you know that there are actual scientific reasons for this? Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.
So, if you’re feeling stressed, take a walk in the park, sit by a river, or just spend some time outside in your backyard. And if you can’t get outside, try looking at pictures of nature or even listening to recordings of nature sounds. Just a few minutes of exposure can make a big difference.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).
11. Remember the Good Times
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).
When life gets tough, it can be easy to forget the good times. But it’s important to remember the good times, because they can help us get through the tough times. Here are some ways to remember the good times:
A. Write them down.
Keeping a journal is a great way to remember the good times. Every time something good happens, write it down. Over time, you’ll have a record of all the great things that have happened in your life.
Another great way to remember the good times is to create a scrapbook. Gather pictures, ticket stubs, and other mementos from good times and put them all together in a scrapbook. You can even add your journal entries to the scrapbook for an even more personal touch.
C. Talk about them.
Talking about good times is a great way to remember them. When you’re with friends or family, take some time to talk about the good times you’ve had together. You’ll be surprised how many great memories you have.
D. Remember the little things.
It’s often the little things that make the best memories. Take a moment each day to remember something good that happened, no matter how small. Over time, you’ll have a collection of happy memories to look back on.
E. Live in the moment.
One of the best ways to remember the good times is to live in the moment. When you’re experiencing something good, take a mental snapshot so you can remember it later. And don’t forget to enjoy the moment while you’re in it!
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall me no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
It’s not easy to rebuild your life after losing a loved one. You may feel like you’re lost and alone, but there are ways to cope with your grief and move on. First, it’s important to accept that your life has changed and that you won’t be able to go back to the way things were. Then, reach out to your friends and family for support and take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Finally, find ways to honor your loved one’s memory and keep them close to your heart. With time, you’ll be able to rebuild your life and find happiness again.
One of the best articles I’ve read on rebuilding and moving forward after loss. Thank you
I was so blessed by the podcast with Danita Jenae as she shared her story and how the Lord has comforted and help her go on. Also this blog has some ideas and helps that I had not thought of. I have had several cousins, two brother in law’s and a sister in law pass within the past two years and several just recently. Also a sweet friend that I got to know through a retreat just died Saturday night. I guess with all the others and then her death, I was hit hard about loss. I usually begin going through memories which comfort me but you have so many more thoughts and helps that were new to me. Thank you for the podcast and for this. I truly want to share this blog with several who have lost loved ones. You are a blessing, Michelle!