5 Ways to Help Military Families Cope with Loss this Memorial Day Weekend 2021
While for many, Memorial Day Weekend is about fun-in-the-sun, families of those who gave their life for this country are reminded of their loss. Especially if the loss is recent, this year may be especially difficult. If you are a friend of or the family member who is mourning a loss, here are a few ways to help you cope:
- Meet yourself where you are.
Fighting the feelings of grief and loss can actually make their effects stronger. Remind yourself that what you are feeling is normal and you will meet a variety of emotions through the process of grieving your loved one. Meeting yourself where you are can have an immediate effect of relief, even if it doesn’t take you out of your grief completely. Any time you meet an emotion that seems to be taking control of you, remind yourself to greet it rather than fight it.
- Celebrate their life
The full quote is “Don’t mourn their death, celebrate their life.” However, mourning is an important part of the process and if you are at that stage, give yourself the time to feel through it. This Memorial Day, use it as a time to do something that would celebrate the individual. If you are a friend of the grieving family, bring them a dessert or something that would signify a sympathetic celebration. If you are the one grieving, light a candle for your loved one in a cupcake or their favorite dessert, and write down some of the things you loved about them.
- Move around.
Engage your body and mind in some movement. Exercise - even something as simple as a walk - releases endorphins, which are named the “feel-good chemicals.” Stretching, a walk around the block, or a workout will help your mind focus a bit on something else, giving you space to remember that your body is here to support you.
- Get social.
This will feel counterintuitive at first as you may just want to be alone. However, isolation is more likely to cause anxiety. We are social creatures who need others’ company, feedback and empathy. As always, choosing the right type of company is important. Try to spend time with someone who always makes you feel better and more energetic to be around.
- Get professional guidance.
If you are trying to help a mourning friend, remember that despite your best intentions, you are not their therapist. Licensed mental health care workers who specialize in grief and loss are trained to recognize signs of possible self-harm that may not be evident to the untrained ear. Help your friend by recommending speaking to a professional to make sure that they are able to properly heal through their grief. If you are the one grieving, consider scheduling an appointment with a counselor who specializes in grief and loss. Even if you feel like you are handling it fine, a therapist can help make sure that (1) you aren’t pushing down feelings that may explode later and (2) you are thriving through the process faster than you may on your own.
If you are in Florida, schedule an appointment with our grief and loss therapists by securely calling 954-533-5827.