Stress Awareness Month: 5 Ways to Cope with Stress While Grieving a Loss

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | April 14
Many life experiences cause stress, but one that isn’t often talked about is the stress from a loved one’s death. On top of making funeral arrangements and getting their affairs in order, you’re grieving and adjusting to life without them. It’s a stressful time while feeling complex emotions. 

With April being Stress Awareness Month, we want to share five ways to cope with stress while grieving a loss. Check them out below. 

1. Create a To-Do List of Everything You Need or Want to Complete. 

Creating a to-do list can make you feel less overwhelmed by having all your tasks organized in one place. This means you can complete high-priority and time-sensitive tasks more quickly. 

To start, separate your to-do list items by wants versus needs. Ask yourself, “Do I need to complete this task right away or can it wait?” For example, updating organizations like banks and insurance companies about your loved one’s death are high-priority tasks. While memorializing their social media accounts is an important task that isn’t as time-sensitive and high priority as other tasks. 

You could also organize your tasks by the estimated amount of time they’ll take to complete. This way, you can better plan your day around how much time you need to finish the tasks. If you have tasks that will only take a few minutes, you can complete them whenever you have some free time. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask People for Help. 

You don’t need to complete all your to-do list tasks yourself. Oftentimes, your loved ones are looking for ways to help as you grieve your loss, but don’t know how to. These tasks can let them show their support while lifting some of the burdens off your shoulders. 

Your loved ones could also complete any chores or errands you don’t have the time or energy for. This lets you focus on your to-do list and not be distracted by tasks like mowing the lawn or buying groceries. 

If you’re struggling with your grief, don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted family and friends. You could also reach out to the funeral home staff who planned your loved one’s funeral for grief counselor and/or grief support group recommendations. 

3. Find a Healthy Outlet for Relieving Stress While Honoring Your Loved One. 

There are many ways to honor and remember your loved one while also combating your stress. These are just a few stress-reducing activity ideas that you could start with: 

  • Go for a nature walk to reflect and ease your stress. 
  • Make a memento to pay tribute to your loved one. 
  • Read your loved one’s favorite book or watch their favorite movie. 
  • Bake their famous dessert or cook their signature dish. 
  • Look through photo books of your loved one’s life to remember cherished memories. 

4. Take Care of Yourself in the Process. 

Your loved one would want you to take time for yourself, too. Whatever you choose to do doesn’t need to have any other purpose than just relaxing and decompressing. It’s about you and what you need to take care of your mental and physical health. 

While this will look different for everyone, here are a few suggestions if you’re not sure what to do:  

  • Take time for your hobbies or an activity you want to try. 
  • Do your favorite form of exercise, such as yoga or running. 
  • Treat yourself to a spa day. 
  • Call a family member or friend who you haven’t talked to in a while. 
  • Go on a mini road trip to explore a city near you that you haven’t been to. 

5. Figure Out What Ideas Work for You. 

We hope you find these suggestions useful, but we know they aren’t for everyone. Find what works for you, whether that’s spending time with others or taking time to yourself to grieve and relieve stress. Just don’t completely shut yourself off from the outside world. Know that you’re not alone in your grief, and there are ways to relieve stress while honoring your loved one in the process. 

What other ways can you cope with the stress from a loved one's death this Stress Awareness Month and year-round? Share them in the comments. 

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