January 2018 | Wesley Hospice

Keeping a Routine Through Tough Times

Whether your family member has just been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, passed away or you are going through a divorce, life can get hard. When things like this happen, we often find ourselves lying in bed a little longer in the morning, and dragging our feet throughout the day. Sound familiar? Trust me, we understand. That’s why it’s so important to keep a routine during any tough time. But, that’s easier said than done! Use these 3 tips to help you keep a routine, even when it feels impossible.
1. Start your day with something you love
Do you enjoy listening to the latest podcasts? Catching up on the news? Or, having a warm cup of coffee on your porch? Wake up, and make that thing the first thing you do in the morning. Not only will it help you to get out of bed, but it will get your day started on a positive note. When you wake up this way you may be more upbeat for the remainder of the day.
2. Change your expectations
Many people believe that a routine is set in stone and cannot be adjusted. And, this is simply not the case. You may not feel up to do everything you were doing before this tragedy right away. And, that is okay! Change your expectations to be more realistic. Remove the unnecessary tasks from your routine, but ensure that you continue to do the things that mean the most to you.
Let’s say that your typical day consists of waking up, going to the gym, cooking breakfast, showering, going to work, taking your dogs for a walk, getting dinner with your best friends, watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show, then cleaning your house, before you finally go to sleep. When you are faced with a difficult time, each of these activities can seem more and more daunting. Focus on the key activities that make you feel good and do those. Try to clean one room instead of the whole house. Or, opt into an at-home workout instead of going all the way to the gym in the morning. These minor adjustments can make a world of a difference when you are pushing through a hard time.
3. Let your emotions run their course
Begin to schedule in time to deal with your emotions because it’s important to let your emotions out. You may confide in a trusted friend over coffee a few times a week. Or, schedule time to write about it before bed. Maybe, you’ll talk to your family members about it in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your friends and family about the situation, you can find support groups in your area. These groups could be a great option, too.
But, no matter what remember you are not alone. Many times, people who have been in your position before can give you great advice. But, sometimes you need to seek professional help. Always talk to your healthcare provider about any health concerns, including anxiety, depression and grief. Your health care provider may wish to monitor your health during this time.

Grief and Mourning: Dealing with the Death of a Loved One

At some point all of us experience the loss of someone important in our lives. Dealing effectively and positively with grief caused by such a loss is central to a healthy and fulfilling life. Many people choose hospice services as their loved one’s health declines. Others do not. Wesley Hospice provides ongoing bereavement follow-up to family members and friends for 13 months following the patient’s death.

Below is information to help you understand some of the emotions you are likely to go through after the death of a loved one, and to offer some suggestions on how to cope and deal with these emotions.

Good Grief….What is Grief and Am I Experiencing It?

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, 4

Grief – Natural Response to Loss

Grief is the normal and universal reaction humans have to the loss of those they love. Our culture envisions healing from grief the same way we think about healing from the flu…..that grief is something we get over completely….that if we take a few days off or take some medication, then we should be “cured” in no time. This is not true!

When your loved one dies, you go through a period of bereavement and experience grief that is individual to your experience and yet shares many aspects with all others who grieve. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is thought that intense grieving could last from months to years.

You will grieve in your own unique way, and a general pattern will emerge as you do so. Those around you may be full of ideas about how you are supposed to grieve, and how not. You may be told that grief comes in clear-cut stages, and you may even be given a name for the stage you are supposedly going through. You may hear advice like “Be strong!” or “Cheer up!” or “Get on with your life!” rather than be encouraged to allow your grief to run its natural course. It is important for you to be clear that this is your grief, not theirs. You will grieve in no one’s way but your own.

You may have times of disbelief that your loved one actually passed away; your mind may be confused and your thinking muddled, or have feelings of being in a fog. You may find it difficult to concentrate on just about everything. You may be able to focus your attention, but all you can focus on is the one who died, or how they died, or your life together.

Healthy grief has many possible faces and can express itself in many different ways. You are an individual, with your own personality, life experiences, relationship with the one who died, and understanding of life and death. You are unique and should not expect a “one-size-fits-all grief” to suit you. Despite your individual uniqueness, you will probably discover an overall pattern to your grief as it progresses. It often begins with a time of shock and numbness, especially if the death was sudden. Everything seems unreal. This is usually followed by a time when pain sets in. Sadness, loneliness, helplessness and fear may come over you in powerful waves. Anger and guilt may do the same, and continue for a while. In time, there comes a slow growing acceptance of what has happened, but it is not necessarily a happy acceptance.