1. Reach out to People- even if you are no fun (totally depressed).
We can't go it alone. When I was getting divorced, I was not good company. I'm not exaggerating, I alternated between snarky and sullen. I was hurting. I knew this, and it made me forever thankful to those friends who came over just so that I wouldn't have to be alone (not because I was fun to be around). The same can be said for many other times in my life. When we are truly devastated or lost, we get to see another side of love.
It's not that the people around you will take away the pain and hurt, but that they are there with you while you go through it, like a tiny light in deep darkness. It reminds me of the difference between darkness and just one candle. That is the kind of light I'm talking about. The people we love can not bring the sun back into our devastated lives, but they can be one tiny candle light while we wait it out.
It should be noted that finding the right people is essential, and they are often people we didn't expect. My office mate of just a few months showed up twice in two months to move (crabby) me when my marriage fell apart. This person didn't ask for anything in return and never brought it up as a favor. Find people who don't need you to be okay and even better, who can make you laugh.
2. Breathe...I'm not kidding.
All we can ever offer is what we've got. SO- I am going to tell you that this has changed my life. From the seemingly mundane stresses of money and scheduling to navigating, death, disease, divorce and all the other bummer "D" words. Intentional breathing has been a super power in plain clothes. Watching your breath isn't meant to wash you in a spa-like relaxation state, but to lesson the feeling that you are being swept away by tidal waves of emotion.
There are many, many, articles on meditation and developed 'breath work' techniques and I say if those things ring your bell, go for it. But, what I am talking about can be much simpler, although not always that easiest thing to do. Just breath. Count your breaths or close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath and just take a break from doing, panicking, or mourning - just breath. A break is a break, and transitions and loss can be a constant drain.
Think of your breath as a place you go to, a mini vacation spot that is never too far or too expensive to get to. Don't worry if your feelings are still intense while you take a break. There's a decent chance that you won't just melt away in relaxation. I could go into a psycho-babble description of what if happening in your brain and your nervous system when you put extra attention on your breath, but instead, just try it. Use a timer if you like. Start with one minute, then see if you can get up to five minutes. Each time you catch yourself thinking just say; 'oh, thinking', and then go back to counting or listening to your breath. This is a tiny, powerful way of supporting yourself. It is caring...for yourself.
3. Go Outside Everyday- No exceptions.
Even if you are sad or pissed off the whole time, go outside EVERY day. Allow yourself to see the sky and feel the air on your face. Again, it is unlikely that this will instantly rinse the suffering you feel from your soul, but whether you can feel it now or not, you will look back and see this time outside as yet another tiny light in the vast darkness around you.
If you can walk easily then walk. If not, maybe you just sit on a bench and stare off into the distance. Maybe you go off into a wood and throw rocks at an unjust god or sing that song that's been in your head lately. When you are outside have no rules and less adherence to your age. In the throws of grief or loss we are not usually in our adult mind, and our process back to a more whole feeling self is often expedited by giving that younger self a little space outside.
It may be that nothing much seems to happen. Just keep going outside everyday and be there for 15 minutes at least. For those of you who live in bitter cold, where just getting to and from the car zaps every ounce of heat from you, go to a green house or florist shop where can wander around without feeling too self conscious. Also, go outside even though it's cold.
Don't give up, you are not alone.
If you need more tools find a grief counselor that you trust & go.