Chances are if you’re an older adult, you’ve had to cope with the loss of someone close to you. It may be the loss of a parent, the death of a spouse, or the loss of dear friends. From graduation to honeymoons to nights full of joy and laughter, each left an indelible mark on your life and their absence can lead to feelings of profound sadness, grief, and loneliness. The loved ones you surround yourself with give your life purpose. Without them, it can be much harder to find.
1. Be creative
When grieving the loss of a loved one, there’s much satisfaction to be found in creating something from scratch, whether it be painting a watercolor or building a birdhouse. Even if you feel you don’t have the skill or talent, just the act of creation can help cultivate curiosity and joy and keep your body and mind active. Creating can also be a powerful tool for expressing your grief and remembering the ones you love through activities like putting together a photo album of memories or cooking their favorite dishes.
2. Stay active
It can be difficult to imagine going about your regular activities without your loved one by your side. Yet, maintaining a routine of practices you enjoy like yoga, walking or gardening can give you a reason to get out of bed and out your front door each morning. Active living can also have many life-changing benefits that encompass the five dimensions of wellness -physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.
3. Explore hobbies
It can be easy to feel wanting to do things that make you happy after a recent loss. It’s important to remember, though, that you can give yourself permission to pursue your passions. Grieving the loss of a loved one can hold you in place and keep you from the fulfilled life you deserve. Give yourself time and space to heal, but also explore your interests and find renewed purpose in enjoying the hobbies, old and new, that excite you.
4. Get involved
Losing a loved one can make you feel disoriented and like you’ve lost a sense of purpose. Serving others by volunteering your time to local organizations is a powerful way to find purpose by becoming a valuable member of your community. Consider your talents, experience, and what you enjoy. Maybe after-school tutors are needed at the local school or hours at your favorite concert hall. Volunteering is a rewarding and fulfilling experience and a great to honor and contribute to groups and organizations that were close to the hearts of loved ones you’ve lost.