Change Your Focus
Do you feel totally “out of it?” Do you feel numb like you’re “sleepwalking” through your day? Are you forgetting simple things like names, or losing your car keys? Experts explain that the first 30 days of grief is a blur, often described as a fog or dreamlike state. Helen Fitzgerald, director of training at the American Hospice Foundation in Washington D.C. and author of The Mourning Handbook, explains that the best way to deal with this is acceptance.
During the first week of grieving, “people feel vulnerable and scared; they might not know where to go for guidance,” she says. “I tell them not to think ahead too far and take it one day at a time—or even one half-day at a time. Focus on the present and some things will begin to fall into place.”
Whether it’s washing your hair or eating a meal, focus on what’s in front of you. Grief can stir up all kinds of emotions, including nostalgia for the past and anxiety about the future. Focusing on something physical and immediate can help you hold onto a little piece of reality. By focusing on the present, you can create a solid ground from which you can deal with those feelings when you’re ready.
Today, with the help of a trusted friend or family member, decide what three things are most important for you to do today. Whatever they are, try to accomplish those three things and be fully present in them. Concentrating on the tasks at hand will give you a break from the stress of your grief and may help remind you of some of the gifts you still have before you.