Losing a loved one is never easy, but your teenage years can make the passing of a family member or close friend even harder. Adolescence is often a time when we are studying, learning to fit in, and this sort of news can be distracting and blow a hole in the plans you have. It may make you feel alone if none of your friends know what grief feels like. The following will lay out some tips on how to properly grieve, maintain concentration on your education and other important life events, and how to move on positively.
Confront your feelings
This can be a somewhat distressing and uncomfortable exercise which brings up an array of emotions, but can be important to establish how you are truly feeling. Writing personally in a journal about how you feel about this individual’s passing may help you come to terms with how this has impacted you. Remember to also reflect on all the good memories you have, it’s important to remember them for who they were. If you need further help, counselling sessions can help you come to term with your emotions, and they may provide assistance in regard to dealing with your feelings. Here are some more places for bereavement support:
- Websites: https://www.hopeagain.org.uk/, https://www.childbereavementuk.org/
- Phone support: Mind Allies offers a 24/7 Whatsapp/SMS service: +44 7380 308410
- GP: If you are really concerned about your mental health and not feeling better after a few months, consult your GP about the situation. Especially if these feelings begin to interrupt sleeping patterns, prevent you from eating properly or lead to thoughts about hurting yourself.
- Tutors at school: if you are in education, schools may have on site counsellors, or head of years available to talk to about student wellbeing. Let your teachers know, and ask if there is any additional support available to you.
Try to find meaning
The loss of a closed loved one often has the ability to teach us a lot about ourselves, and life lessons. Try to establish what you have discovered about yourself, others and the process of grief. Perhaps you can try answering some of the below questions:
- Did this person mean a lot to you? Why?
- Have you learned anything about yourself or your emotions?
- Have there been any positives to come out of this difficult time?
- Has this event made you more mature?
- Who are the people who have been there by your side to support you? How have they done this? Have you found yourself drawn to certain people during the grief process?
- Have you learned to appreciate some aspects of life more than you did previously?
Your emotions may not be what you expected, and this is ok
Many assume that the loss of a loved one means the surrounding family will be hit with feelings of sadness and grief immediately, but not everybody reacts this way. You may have feelings of denial, anger, numbness, or you may feel nothing at all. Many people don’t grieve fully for close relatives until a few years after their passing, so don’t worry that you aren’t feeling the way you think you should, we all deal with bereavement in different ways.
Remember to look after your own wellbeing
We can often get wrapped up in our emotions during times of grief, and may begin to neglect both our physical and mental wellbeing. Some of the most simple daily activities can help you feel better:
- Eating 3 healthy meals a day, try to prevent yourself from avoiding food.
- Getting enough sleep can aid your mental health greatly. Try to develop a sleeping schedule, including going to bed at a similar time each night, even practising gentle yoga or breathing exercises before bedtime.
- Getting in regular exercise into your routine can aid both your mental and physical wellbeing. For a more relaxing form of exercise, try yoga.
- Socialising with friends and family will help you get out the house and avoid isolating yourself from everyone.
- Keep up to date with school work. Take some time off if you need, but try your best to continue working at home and pick up assessments on your return, or ask classmates to pass any missed work on to you.
- Avoid drinking or using recreational drugs as an attempt to deal with your emotions, this will often make you feel worse and not help your recovery back to your normal self.
If you require further help, please feel free to contact Mind Allies 24/7 for advice or just someone to talk to about your emotions.