Ideally, you should avoid making big decisions while you’re grieving. Grief impacts all aspects of your life, making your mental well-being too fragile for taking in important matters. But sometimes, decision-making can’t be avoided. If it’s a family member who had died, you’d be the one to decide what to do with their stuff, and how to arrange their funeral.
From choosing the best market or headstone to composing a eulogy, you need a level head despite all the pain you’re experiencing. What’s more, you’d be back to work in no time, facing your colleague’s and boss’ expectations once more. You can never prepare enough for the real world after losing a loved one, but as life goes on, you can only choose to be strong.
To provide you with some comfort and strength, here’s a guide to making big decisions while grieving:
1. Allow Yourself to Experience the Grieving Process
Being strong doesn’t mean suppressing your emotions. In fact, it’s the opposite. Showing emotions is something not many people are brave enough to do. Hence, by letting yourself go through each stage of grief, you’re allowing yourself to build up the strength you need to move forward with your life.
The “fake it ’til you make it” approach isn’t going to work in mending your grief. Contrary to what some people believe, ignoring the pain won’t make it go away. Even strength doesn’t make you hurt any less. So if you’re inconsolable at the moment, let yourself be. Only time will reduce the pain. You can function as you always do while grieving or feel too lost in your head to function. It doesn’t matter. Make decisions only when you’re in the right emotional state to do so.
2. Take Care of Yourself
More than anything, self-care is important at a time of grieving. It’s okay to delay some important decisions in the meantime. Limit your responsibilities to those related to the funeral. At least, your other family members and relatives can help you with that.
Talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. That type of person knows you’re not ready to make big decisions. They can also help you gain a better sense of perspective. In turn, you may realize that some of your responsibilities aren’t as urgent as you perceive them to be. Your job and social life, for example, can wait. For now, you should focus on yourself and relive your memories with your departed loved one.
3. Inform Your Co-workers About Your Loved One’s Death
If the decision you have to make involves your job, let your co-workers know that you’re currently in mourning. Refrain from assuming your company knows. If you have a project in which your team is counting on you, ask for their patience and meet with them. Plan on how you can carry on with the project while you are unavailable. There should be someone who can lead on your behalf.
On the other hand, if you think working can take your mind off your grief, then it should be alright for you to go back to the office. But during the time of decision-making, ensure that you’re in the right emotional and mental state to make the best choice.
4. Delay Some Life Decisions
If the decision you make involves your personal life or is related to your loved one’s passing, it’s okay to delay it. For example, if you’ve been appointed the executor of your loved one’s will, ask for their heirs’ consideration before sitting them down on a meeting. If you’re one of the heirs, chances are your siblings are too. They’re surely grieving as badly as you are, so hold off the discussion about your inheritance.
If you have some cousins, uncles, and aunts who have been given an inheritance as well, avoid mentioning it in the meantime. Dealing with a departed loved one’s properties may result in added stress during this time.
5. Forgive People Who Overstep Your Boundaries
Not everyone is going to understand the pain you’re experiencing. As such, they may overstep your boundaries without meaning to. This is common at work, where people you’re not close with might simply see you as another employee. If they don’t respond well to your situation, forgive them nonetheless. If they seem distant, chances are they just don’t know how to comfort you.
Don’t take it personally. Time will reduce the impact of your grief. By then, you can function normally again, and resume making decisions about your work and personal life.
Don’t beat yourself up if you take too long to get ready. Time may numb your pain, but it’ll never truly go away, so make peace with your new reality. Restart your life at your own pace.