Losing a loved one is never an easy thing to get through, in part because grief can be sneaky. It shows up when you least expect it and can be expressed in many different ways, which can be confusing to everyone in the situation. When you live far away from your family, things become even more complicated. Perhaps you are away at college, or have moved out of state for work, love, or a change of scenery. Being overwhelmed with grief and sadness over the loss of your loved one is much more difficult when you don’t have family nearby.
Long-distance grieving is similar to regular grieving, except you don’t have that comforting feeling of being close to family. While your loved ones remain together and can physically lean on one another, you are left to grieve on your own. For this reason, it’s important to take care of yourself during this time, in every way. Your physical, mental, and emotional well-being can all be affected by grief and can, in turn, affect your ability to perform at work or school and in life in general. Getting enough rest, eating well-balanced meals, and perhaps seeking counseling or therapy so that you can talk through your feelings is imperative.
Read on for more tips on how to cope with the loss of a loved one from afar.
Use technology to your advantage
Being far away from your family is hard, and after losing a loved one, it’s important to do everything you can to stay in touch with them. Use technology to your advantage in order to keep up communications, such as having a video chat via Skype. Nowadays there are many apps and websites that can help you talk to and see your family even when you’re miles apart.
Talk to your loved ones to find out how the arrangements are being made and offer to help out. Even though you’re far away, there are still things you can do, such as setup floral deliveries or catering services for the day of the funeral. If the loved one planning the services has a pet, you can arrange dog walking or dog boarding services for them so they’ll have one less thing to worry about. You can also offer to communicate with distant family members and let them know about the dates and times of services. Knowing that you’re able to help from afar will bring you some comfort.
Talk to someone
If you have a close, trusted friend you can talk to, start a conversation about how you’re feeling. Bottling up your emotions is never a good thing, as they can come out in some other, unhealthy way. Open up about your grief as much as possible, and if you don’t have someone you feel comfortable talking to, consider looking for a grief counselor or therapist. There are several different ways you can attend a counseling session, from group meetings to online sessions, so choose the one that works for you.
Take care of yourself
Many people who are in the throes of grief forget to take good care of themselves. It’s common, but it’s important to do your best to make sure your body and mind are well taken care of. Channel your grief into daily exercise, which can help battle anxiety and stress and boost your mood; eat well-balanced meals every day; and make sure you get enough rest. These can all be difficult things to do during this hard time, but it’s incredibly important for your mental health to try to practice self-care.
Try not to make big changes
Dealing with a loss is a major life change, so it’s imperative that you don’t make any other big changes if possible. This includes moving, getting into or out of a relationship, and changing jobs. These can all add stress to an already stressful situation, so do your best to keep things low-key and on an even track.
Remember that there is no one way to grieve; don’t pressure yourself to feel or act a certain way, as this can only lead to more stress or anxiety. Seek counseling if you feel you need to talk to someone and remember that you’re not alone.