18 Mistakes You Should Avoid After Losing a Spouse

Losing a spouse is undoubtedly one of the hardest things you could go through in life and there are some things that can make the path easier and others that make it harder. In this post, we’re going to discuss the 18 biggest mistakes people make after losing a spouse.

Ignoring grief

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For some, ignoring grief is a coping mechanism but living in denial will make the situation worse in the long run. When you bottle up emotions, the container is bound to explode sooner or later. Grief is a normal process and EYMT advises that we can only heal from grief once it has been acknowledged.

Isolating Themselves

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Humans are designed for connection and although you are going through a challenging time right now, connection is important to get you through it. Many people withdraw from their loved ones after losing a spouse but they are the very people who will support you and lift you up. In many cases, they will also be grieving, and you need each other at this time.

Not setting boundaries

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While you don’t want to isolate yourself, you also want to set boundaries with others. Some level of alone time is crucial to processing your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Don’t feel guilty for taking some alone time and if your social cup is full for one day, that is perfectly fine.

Making major decisions too soon

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It is difficult to think clearly when dealing with a heartbreaking event so it is important not to make major decisions too soon. Any decisions made will be rash and not thought through well. Take time to grieve and process, significant life decisions can be made at a later date.

Financial mismanagement

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During this time of stress, it is easy for your finances to become mismanaged. Whether through overspending in an attempt to fill a void or not keeping up to date with payments, financial mismanagement will impact your future just as much as your present.

Ignoring legal matters

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While there are many things we want to avoid in the early days of loss, legal matters are important and demand our attention, no matter how difficult. Legal advice can help you understand what needs to be dealt with in a timely manner and assist with it to alleviate some stress.

Unrealistic expectations

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Grief does not have an expiry date. There is no time frame on when you should have finished grieving. Grief is an emotion that will never truly go away, it just gets a little easier with time. Don’t let yourself or others set unrealistic expectations for your grieving process. Everyone deals with loss at their own pace and in their own way.

Burn out

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It is common to throw yourself into a project after losing a spouse to give you an area of focus. Somewhere to pour your energy into and keep your mind occupied is great in some respects but you need to be aware of overdoing it. Throwing yourself into work or a personal project can lead to burnout and have a negative impact on your mental health.

Neglecting physical health

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Processing grief is the most important thing right now but ensure you are not neglecting your physical health. Good diet and exercise is the foundation of so many things. Not only does it build a routine, it also helps you feel better about yourself and, therefore, be able to process emotions better. Mental Health America notes that exercise is great for your mental health and a great way to work through and release thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Not seeking mental care

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You don’t have to process grief alone but it can sometimes be difficult to talk to those closest to us. Talking with a therapist can help you navigate this difficult time. It can help you put perspective on things and help you cope a little easier. If you feel you could benefit from mental care, seek it out; don’t put it off.

Neglecting your home

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In the depths of grief, cleaning and tidying are often the last things on your mind. However, your environment has a big impact on your emotions. They say a cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind and your environment should be a reflection of how you want to feel. In many cases, taking care of your home can give you a focus, which is great. Yet it is also perfectly fine if you don’t feel up to it right now. Instead, hire a cleaner or ask a loved one to help you out until you’re ready.

Not prioritizing sleep

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For many, nights are the worst when your mind is at rest and your brain becomes flooded with thoughts and emotions. It can be extremely difficult to sleep after losing a spouse but it is also extremely important to make it a priority. Try a consistent sleep schedule, winding down before bedtime and even incorporating magnesium into your diet to help aid sleep. If sleep remains an issue, you can always seek professional help.

Disconnecting with your spirituality

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If you are a spiritual or religious person, your faith can be so helpful during this time. However, What’s Your Grief states that many abandon their beliefs as they question their faith and try to understand their loss. Your faith community is a place of comfort and support in times of loss.

Getting lost in social media

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Comparison is the thief of joy and while social media is great for many things, it can also have a negative impact on our mental state. Now is not the time to compare yourself to the picture-perfect lives of others. Now is the time for a digital detox, focusing on yourself and processing your grief.

Living in the past

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Hold onto your memories tightly but don’t get so caught up living in the past that you forget you have a future. As difficult as it may be to process, you still have time ahead of you and your loved one will want you to enjoy every minute of it. Keep them close to your heart and take them with you on the rest of your own journey.

Turning to alcohol

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After the loss of a spouse, there is an undeniable hole left. However, this void cannot be filled, no matter how hard you try. Alcohol is commonly used as a way to cope and while it may be an easy relief, it will not have any long-term benefits. It will only take the pain away momentarily.

Not pursuing new hobbies

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Although you don’t want to be throwing yourself into new things right away, don’t pause your own life. If you have an interest, follow it. Life is made for living and while it can be difficult to imagine pursuing new interests without your loved one, you can’t put your life on hold. Plus, it may just be the very thing that helps you with your grieving process.

Moving on too quickly

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While it can be easy to seek comfort in another person, moving on too quickly should be avoided after losing a spouse. There is no time frame for grieving and dating too quickly is not a great idea. You should wait until you feel completely ready.

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