Immediately following the death of a loved one, we tend to pick up new habits to help cope with the loss. Although developing new habits is a good way to establish new routines in the wake of your loved one’s absence, you must be careful about the type of habits you develop. These habits may help you to cope with your loss, but they won’t help you work through your greif, and may even cause physical or mental harm to yourself.

1. Using TV as an Escape

On the surface, TV seems pretty harmless. After all, it’s just a way to entertain yourself while you pass the time right? While TV does help take your mind off the pain of loss, it prevents you from really dealing with your greif and facing the reality of your new life. Try to limit the amount of TV that you watch to an hour a day. If you really need an outlet one day, find something to do to take your mind off things. Call up a friend and get out of the house for the day.

2. Self-Medicating with Alcohol or Other Substance Abuse

If you know that you have a higher propensity to drink, try to stay away from alcohol during this difficult time. Alcohol is a natural depressant, and since you’re grieving, alcohol will only intensify the sadness that you already feel. If you’re feeling depressed after the loss of a loved one, turn to a therapist or family member to help you through your grief and avoid self-medicating with alcohol.

3. Emotional Eating

It’s very common for people’s eating habits to change following the death of a loved one. You may feel like food is a source of comfort at a time when you are feeling very discomforted. This can lead to mindless emotional eating, which can then lead to weight gain, followed by unhappiness with yourself. The last thing you need when you are grieving is another reason to be unhappy, especially with yourself. On the other hand, some people tend to not eat enough when they are grieving. They use food restriction as a means of power or control at a time when everything else in their life feels out of control.

4. Surrounding Yourself with Toxic People

When you’re grieving, you may be tempted to surround yourself with other people who are unhappy as a way to make yourself feel better about your own unhappiness. Break free from those people quickly and find people who are going to build you up and help you through your grief. Escape from the people who don’g understand grief and the pain that you are going through, and surround yourself  with those who know the necessity of grief work and can help you through this hard time.

5. Isolating Yourself

I can’t stress enough the importance of having a good support group when you are grieving. However, the temptation is there to remove yourself from the rest of the world in an attempt to find some solitude during this tumultuous time. While solitude and self-reflection is good, you need to let others help you with your grief. Make sure that you’re spending time with your loved ones and your support group, and relying on each other to get through your loss together.

Be mindful of the habits you develop during the grief process. We develop these habits as a way to cope with the loss, however there is a difference between coping with loss and working through your grief. Make sure that the habits you’re developing aren’t covering up the emotions and feelings you are really feeling.

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