After a significant loss, it can be so difficult to transition back into “normal life.” It can even be scary. Everything was going fine before loss hit and took so many things away from you. It might feel safer to avoid re-engaging in life in new ways. What if you get hit with another loss? It’s already happened (at least) once, why not again? The fear can cause us to freeze.
But here’s the thing: after a certain point, staying frozen in time after a loss just causes us to lose more and more. Social relationships may suffer due to self-isolation. Our brains suffer from lack of engagement in healthy and challenging pursuits. Our bodies become weaker as we lounge the days away.
There’s a good chance re-engagement will feel REALLY uncomfortable at first. You may not know what to say to people or things that used to give you joy no longer elicit the same response. You may find yourself wondering “why am I even putting forth the effort?”
The good news is this: the more you do these things, the easier it will start to feel. Eventually you will start to feel some joy. It’s like anything else in life that’s difficult but worth it. Try to do something each day that gets you out of just simply sitting in your grief (which has its place too). Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Meet a friend for coffee. If you feel like you need to set a time limit on the interaction to avoid becoming overwhelmed, just tell them you have an appointment right after. Let them know what you feel like you can and can’t handle that day. If they are a real friend, they will absolutely understand and respect those boundaries.
- Go to the bookstore and buy a new book. Try something new, like an author you have never read before, or read a mystery if you usually read romance. Find something that will engage your brain in new ways.
- Take a hike. Literally. Being in nature is extremely healing. Hiking can be a meditative experience. Pay attention to all of your senses as you walk along. What vibrant colors do you see? What do the flowers and the trees smell like? How does the fresh air feel on your skin? Allow yourself to relax and explore.