November 17, 2020 marks is National Bereavement Day. It invites all Canadians to reflect on the importance of relationships past and present, to think about those who have passed from our lives, and to help advocate for supports at the provincial and national levels for grieving Canadians.
What can you do to help yourself and others?
What can you do for yourself when YOU ARE GRIEVING?
- Accept yourself and your feelings; grief is a very powerful emotion.
- Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep and nutrition. If you are having difficulty in any of these areas, consider speaking with your family physician.
- Learn about the grief process. It can be very reassuring to know what is normal and what to expect. Many books, articles and courses on grief recovery are available.
- Make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a short walk or other brief physical activity can help to shift your mood.
- Learn one or two simple relaxation techniques. These can help when your grief feels overwhelming, as it often does at the beginning of a grief recovery process.
- Spend some time with other people. Interacting with others can help you better understand your grief and rediscover meaning, purpose, and joy in life again.
What you can do for SOMEONE WHO IS GRIEVING?
- Spend time with the bereaved person. Loneliness is a major aspect of grief for many people and asking for company can be difficult. A telephone call can help when visiting is not possible.
- Ask about the bereaved person’s grief. Remember that asking about the person’s grief doesn’t cause it; it’s there all the time.
- Listen without judgement or interference. Telling bereaved people what they should do or how they should feel isn’t helpful. Just listen to them.
- Talk about the person who died. Bereaved people may get the feeling that you don’t care or ever think about the person who died if you don’t mention them.
- Be accepting. There will likely be times when the bereaved person doesn’t want to spend time with you or want to, talk about his/her grief or the person who died. Let them know you’re OK with that.
- Help them out after making concrete offers to help, such as, “Can I cut your grass this week?” or “Would you like to come grocery shopping with me today?”
- Assist them to get help if their grief continues to be overwhelming and they are at risk of ill health or showing signs of ill health.
What to do if YOU NEED MORE HELP?
- Tell a supportive friend or family member.
- See your family doctor or nurse practitioner for sleep and depression therapy.
- Talk with a grief counselor or a psychologist who can do grief therapy.
- Join a bereavement program or grief recovery group: in person or online.
- Find and use readings or other resources: in person or online.
- Use the AHPCA resource directory to find bereavement or grief recovery programs in Alberta.