Helping you get through tough times

Moving back into your routines

The period of time after a funeral of someone you love can be really tough. The whole process can go by too quickly, and you now feel cut off from the person you lost.

diary and pen by NikkiYou might well feel lonely, or empty, or you might not feel anything at all. You’ve probably been surrounded by people for a few days, and now find yourself suddenly on your own or in a much quieter house.

The day-to-day things have to start getting done again, and you might be facing into returning to college or work.

How do you handle this bit? Should you be mourning, or trying to get back to normal?

How quickly you get back to stuff  completely depends on how you feel. Some people need time out, and some people want to throw themselves back into work. It’s up to you how you handle it, different people will give you different advice, but you’re the only one who can judge what you’re able to do.

Getting straight back to work doesn’t mean  you care any less about the person you have lost, and needing some time is ok too. They’re just different ways of coping. See when someone dies for an introduction to dealing with loss and grief.

Your own pace

It’s a good idea to get back into routines at a pace that suits you. Remember it’s totally normal to have some days that are tougher than others.

You might be sick of hearing people say that time fixes everything, but it does work bit by bit. No matter how impossible it seems, with time you’ll begin to get into a routine and feel like yourself again.

Friends and family are moving on

It can be hard when your friends and relatives eventually go back to their lives. It can feel like everyone else is moving on while your world is standing still. Your friends might really want to help, but not know how.

It can be difficult for them to figure out if they should be giving you space or giving you a call. They might be worried about what to say. Keep good friends in the loop about how you’re feeling. Let them know what you need and how they can help. The odds are they will be waiting for you to ask. See dealing with other people after someone dies for more.

Things that can make it easier

When you return back to work, school, or college you may find the following ideas useful:

  • Plan your return – if you’re going back to school or back to work it’s a good idea to talk with your teacher or boss about how you want to handle the first day back. Discuss how much you want other people to know about your loss, and whether you’d prefer to say something to people yourself or for them to be told by someone else.
  • Let your teacher/boss know how you’re  feeling – talking with your teacher or boss about your workload might help you ease back in. It’s ok to ask for some consideration for homework or to get work tasks done. There might be some days at the beginning when you are finding things a bit tougher. They’ll understand your situation.
  • Finding work hard – difficulties with concentration and memory are common in grief and may affect your study or work performance. If this is happening, it will  help to discuss it with your teacher, your boss or your college tutor. For exams and essays, if they know a bit about what you’re going through they’ll be able to take it into account.  A visit to your doctor may also help.

Other suggestions for helping to get back into day-to-day stuff may be:

Take time out – it’s important for you to manage how you’re feeling. It may be helpful to set aside some time in the day to deal with your thoughts. It may be that you find a spot and:

  • do some writing or drawing
  • punch a pillow
  • do some exercise.

Memories – remember happy times with the person you lost, and even have a laugh about funny things that happened.  At the beginning you might find it hard to remember things, even to picture someone’s face, but that won’t last. If you’re worried you’re going to forget the memories, write them down. It’s ok to cry and be sad. Over time it often becomes easier to remember. There’s no set time frame for this, everyone’s different.

Talk to someone – sometimes talking to someone about how you’re doing helps you manage your feelings and make sense of them. You can talk to someone that’s going through something similar, a family member, friend, teacher or a counsellor. See face-to-face help for more information about who can help you. See when someone dies for a list of helpful websites.

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This article was last reviewed on 30 March 2017

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