Certain factors can contribute to unhealthy grief, while there are a number of ways to encourage healthy bereavement.

Following is a list of bereavement don’ts.

Do not avoid emotions - we must not bury how we feel – we must allow ourselves to feel and work through bereavement – “can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it… we must go through it”

Do not over-do – too much activity leads to exhaustion. While it can be healthy to exercise or clean, we must do these things in balance and moderation, not too little, not too much.
My ladies Sunday School teacher had a saying that I really liked, it is a great word picture, and I tried to put it into practice. “You can fall off the bridge on either side” I think that applies here.

Do not abuse alcohol or drugs – This one is so important – if we over-partake of alcohol it only numbs the pain short term, it will not solve the problem. Drugs are also a great danger. Now if you are really struggling and are under a doctor’s care some medication might be helpful.

The important thing here is to remember –

Do NOT self-medicate!

Do not hold yourself to unrealistic promises made to the deceased. Though it is most certainly honorable to keep your word, there are times when circumstances have changed. Examine - would your loved one hold you to this promise today if they were still alive?

Next are some ideas for working towards healthy bereavement

Rest - Make sure to allow yourself time for proper rest.

Regular Exercise - It is very important to get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be vigorous, taking a walk is valuable. Exercise helps relieve stress that builds up in our bodies. Examples of other exercise could be gardening, bike riding or what you were used to doing before your bereavement.

Proper Nutrition - Equally important is proper nutrition. Eating right helps keep our body and mind functioning properly.

Reaching Out To Family and Friends - We all need some time alone to grieve, but we also need to stay connected with friends and family . They give us support and strength.

Journaling - Writing out your thoughts and pouring out your grief on paper can be helpful to some. Just look at King David in the Bible. Others find it helpful to write letters to their deceased loved one or to create poems.

Read - Reading books, articles, grief quotes, or bereavement poems can be a great comfort.

Gain Comfort From Your Faith - Many people find great comfort from their faith. Have you ever read the Psalms? The authors cover so many of the emotional distresses we face. We can gain strength knowing that others have been in situations similar to ours and have come through.

Accept Comfort and Help - It is not weakness to seek out friends or family to talk or for help with practical things. We need others, and others want to be of help and show great care for us. It blesses them to bless the bereaved.

Avoid making any major decisions (like selling a house) if possible during that first year of bereavement.

Remember to allow yourself to laugh as well as to cry.

The bottom line is that it is important to take care of yourself. I found this quote recently and really think it’s good.

“Our immune system is only as strong as the dosage of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care that we administer to ourselves daily.”
- Rusty Berkus


Author's Bio: 

My experience with bereavement is personal. First, losing my first husband to mental illness and death and lately the death of my father who suffered with Alzheimer’s for 10 years before succumbing to the disease.

I do not have a diploma from a university that hangs on the wall. I guess you could say my education comes from the school of hard knocks.

Just plenty of experience with grief in my own life and the lessons I learned from it. Don’t get me wrong: even though I didn’t study bereavement in college doesn’t mean I haven’t been a life-long learner!

My father was a pastor, and I have been going through all his files on the subject of bereavement. I love to learn and always read 2 or 3 books at once. I also learned how to live with grief along with other aspects of life through Bible study. The Bible has so much to teach us!