Finding Your “New Normal” After a Loss
When will life go back to normal?
When will I stop randomly crying?
When will I have my energy back?
When will I feel like going out again?
When will I be me again?
Everyone grieves differently, and if you find yourself wondering when you will feel like “you” again, there isn’t a clear answer. Truthfully, you will never be the same person you were prior to your loss. Living through the death of someone you love is profoundly changing, and loss doesn’t allow itself to be forgotten.
However, rest assured that you will laugh again, you will enjoy life again, and you will feel a profound sense of self again. The pain of your loss will still be present, but it will be just a small part of who you are.
The grieving process operates on a unique and personal timeline. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the ability to put life on “pause” in the aftermath of a loss. In the days and weeks following the loss of your loved one, you will most likely be expected to return to work and other daily commitments as normal. You may have difficulty being productive at work, socializing with friends or keeping up with day-to-day tasks as you attempt to manage your grief.
Likewise, you may find that those around you don’t fully appreciate the lasting emotional effect of a profound loss, or the amount of time that it takes for you to return to functioning “as normal.”
Adjusting to your new normal means balancing grief with the realities of everyday life. Here are some tips that can help you be effective at work and home while still allowing yourself to grieve:
- Take time for yourself.
Find small moments to be alone, take deep breaths, and even cry. You may find it helpful to change up your environment every so often (take a walk, work outside, etc.) so that you feel in-control and have time to process your thoughts.
- Make lists.
When your mental list of to-dos starts becoming cluttered and overwhelming, put it on paper! You can separate tasks by type (work tasks, chores, errands), or even make a schedule so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting something.
- Set boundaries.
If people are asking more of you than you can handle, don’t be afraid to set limits on what you’re willing to do. Attempting to accomplish more than you are capable of will inevitably end badly. If you are honest up front, everyone will be happier (yourself included!)
If you are grieving, call 336.621.2500 to speak with one of HPCG’s licensed bereavement counselors.