If you know someone who is grieving, there are some things you can do to help them. Someone immersed in sadness will often not have the ability to take care of themselves. I don’t mean basic things like showering or putting food in their mouths; this usually gets done on autopilot. It can be hard to enjoy the people who are in your life when you have lost a spouse, a child, or someone else close to you.
Little (and big) acts of kindness can make a difference. Help your grieving friend clean the house one afternoon. Bring some easy-to-eat food over. Convince them to take a walk with you; the fresh air and exercise can bring a brighter perspective. Kids help, too. Kids have an endless well of joy; they find delight in something as small as a ladybug crawling. Just being around that kind of energy can help someone get out of a depression, even if only for a short while.
Encourage your grieving friend or relative to get help. Grief carries layers of weight: guilt, anger, sadness, loneliness … all these things can be helped with counseling. Sometimes talking to a stranger, like a professional counselor, can be far more effective because strangers are detached from family emotional ties. Also encourage your friend or relative to take care of themselves physically. Mental grief translates to physical pain. Much of the symptoms that I see in my office relate to mental stress of some kind, like job stress, family illness and grieving. Taking care of the body also helps take care of the mind and soul.
I wish you all the best this Christmas season, and I hope you can find the time to step away from the bustle of buying presents and pageants and dinners to spend a little quality time with your family and friends.
Dr. Meghan Palmer is a freelance writer and chiropractor in Rogersville, Tenn.