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How to Live Alone After Becoming a Widow

by Naomi Millburn

The passing of a spouse is a major life adjustment that can come as a shock, turning your world upside down in ways you never anticipated. From the initial feelings of disbelief and numbness to later deep melancholy and denial, new widows go through a wide gamut of diverse emotions and feelings. After years or decades of living closely alongside another person, suddenly being alone is never easy.

Pay attention to your personal wellness. In adjusting to living alone, never neglect your mental or physical health. When you're experiencing intense sadness, it can be all too easy to ignore your personal needs. Keep a regular and healthy sleeping schedule. Eat nutritious and frequent meals, while also monitoring your consumption of alcohol, fatty and sugary foods. Get as much exercise as you can, even if it's just going for short walks outdoors.

Have patience. Bereavement can often lead to feelings of vulnerability, which in turn can cause widows to become impatient on their quest to move on. Realize that acting rashly will not help you deal with your grief, but instead may only cause you to do things you deeply regret, such as dating or marrying someone new or moving to a new area. Understand that not feeling good for a long time is, in fact, absolutely normal.

Talk to people. Look for a human touch by reaching out to people in your life, including close friends and family. Understand that you do not have to deal with your emotions by yourself. Connect with the people who mean so much to you, whether they have experienced this type of loss before or not. If you have trouble finding someone to speak to, perhaps make an appointment to talk with a therapist who specializes in grief or the loss of a spouse.

Reach out to other people in your boat. If you want to share experiences and learn about how to cope from other widows, look for a support group intended for windows in your region. From learning about how to handle being alone in a house to considering navigating the dating world again, talking to other people like you may help you gain a lot of perspective, insight and useful advice.

Shed some tears. In adapting to life as a widow, do not be afraid to cry and unload some of your deep emotions. Avoid ignoring your emotions by acknowledging that you need to heal and repair your heart. Weep, scream, talk aloud to yourself -- do anything that you need to let out your most painful feelings.

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