Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ.

Finding Our Happiness Again After a Loss

**Feature image https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-a-black-wooden-picture-frame-8871429/

**Guest post by Camille Johnson

**you can connect with Camille at bereaver.com

Camille created Bereaver after she went through the ups and downs of the bereavement process herself following the loss of her parents and husband. With the help of her friend who was also experiencing a loss of her own, she learned how to grieve the healthy way, and she wants to share that with others. There is no one way to grieve, but it is important to do it in a way that supports your physical and mental health throughout.

Grief is never the same for any two people, or even for any two circumstances for the same person. What we can take comfort from knowing is that we’re not alone. Few people can say they have never grieved the loss of a loved one, so although the experiences are not identical, some of the ways forward can be learned.


Author, Speaker, and Artist Katie J. Wilson offers us some hope and guidance with ways we can heal and move forward after a loss. 


Learning how others have coped with and moved forward from tragedy and loss is one of the universal ways in which we learn how to process, accept, and live with the loss of a loved one. Speaking to friends and family may not be enough, however, since often others have difficulty knowing how to counsel us or even what to say as words of comfort. Death isn’t an easy topic for anyone, so scheduling time to speak to a professional counselor, clergy, or even our primary care physician can be the better route when we need help to deal with our grief. They can probably advise us too if our grief is somehow leading to depression or, worse yet, a dependency on drugs or alcohol as a means of coping. 


Finding ways to pamper ourselves may lead to feelings of guilt because we don’t think we should be enjoying ourselves during times of loss, but the opposite is true. This is one of those times in life where taking care of ourselves is not only understandable but encouraged. Something as small as a massage or as big as a cruise or a vacation can help reacquaint us with how to be relaxed and at peace, two things we may have forgotten how to feel. 


Returning to doing the things we enjoy, a hobby, or an avocation is an excellent way to find ourselves back on the road forward. Besides the comfort of doing something familiar—something we did before we suffered our loss—it reminds us of who we still are. 


Honoring our loved one with a charitable gift in their name, dedicating a park bench with a plaque, or planting a tree in their honor are living testaments to their lives and the impact they are still making in the world. If it’s a physical memorial, it gives us a place to visit and take comfort knowing that their memory lives on.


Rethinking what happiness means to us is something we never anticipate we’ll ever have to do. When our loved ones and our relationships with them were the sources of so much of our happiness, we may have to rethink what feeling happy will look like going forward. Whether it’s spending more time with other members of our family or circle of friends, or redefining our relationship with them. New people and places are not filling the void, but rather redesigning and rethinking all the ways other people and activities can also be sources of enjoyment and happiness.


Getting a pet can be one way for us to ease the pain of feeling alone. Researchers from the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at the University of Florida found that for those over fifty who suffered the loss of a spouse and did not have a pet were more likely to suffer depression than those who were pet owners saying, “for this age group at least, having a companion animal may buffer against the detrimental consequences of major social loses on psychological health.” If our loss means we now live alone, having someone to greet us, someone happy to see us we come home and someone to care for, takes the sting out of our new home status by at least having someone to talk to, even if they can’t talk back.


Preventing burnout at work if we’re self-employed or a small business owner is essential, as our livelihoods and the livelihoods of others depend on it. It’s easy to begin feeling burnt out if our coping mechanism was to throw ourselves into our work. Managing time off for ourselves is probably one of the hardest things we do as self-employed or small business owners. We feel like everything will fall apart if we’re not there. However, if we’re burned out from putting in too many hours, the opposite can be the case and we begin making bad decisions due to fatigue and mental weariness. Also key to preventing burnout is to lower our expectations or our goals, at least in the short run.


Understanding that this is not a normal time for us and that we need to compensate for that, even if it doesn’t feel that way on the surface, means getting back to feeling the happiness and joy in life we can and should feel again

About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel Forgiven and Free Living a life that says: COME AND SEE!

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