Pet therapy has become very popular in hospitals and universities across the globe. Indeed, interactions with these trained animals can be extremely comforting and calming, especially during stressful and challenging times.
Usually pet therapy includes dogs and cats that have been trained and are assisted by a handler. They are calm, friendly, and approachable, and should be comfortable interacting with humans, even strangers and those who are not used to having pets around.
It appears pet therapy, especially dogs, has yet another use. Many funeral homes provide grief therapy dogs as part of their service, and this is of great help to many who are grieving and mourning the recent loss of a loved one.
What do grief therapy dogs do at funerals?
When a funeral home offers the services of a grief therapy dog, it is usually for funerals and memorial services. They can even be helpful during the funeral planning process. For instance, if a child has lost a loved one, chances are they may not be comfortable talking about their feelings, or they may be unable to express their grief. At such times, a grief therapy dog can help in providing comfort and a sense of peace and companionship.
It is not just children who can benefit from the services of grief therapy dogs. Even adults and seniors can experience the same feelings of comfort from therapy dogs while they are mourning.
With their unique skill sets, grief therapy dogs can sense the stress, emotions, and anxiety of the solemn atmosphere at funerals and during the funeral planning process. This enables them to contribute positive interactions with those who are grieving.
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Due to their immense value, many funeral homes are now including grief therapy dogs as part of their staff. The success of therapy dogs shows that words are not always required. Sometimes all it takes is a loving, positive, and calming presence.
It’s that time of the year again when the holiday season is starting to kick in and Halloween is just around the corner. For most people, it’s a time to dress up in costumes and go trick or treating and party with friends and family, but if you have recently lost a loved one, this may be a difficult time for you.
There may be different reasons why you may not be all that excited for Halloween. Maybe you have lost someone you love during this time of the year, or maybe you have lost someone recently. Perhaps, the person you lost used to love Halloween and now it’s not just the same without them. Maybe all you have now are bittersweet memories that only make it more difficult for you to cope with your grief. It could also be that you simply don’t enjoy Halloween because of what the festival represents.
If you find it difficult to cope with your grief during Halloween, here are a few tips that may be able to help you.
When you have loved ones by your side, it’s much easier to handle anything at all. So, if you are feeling lonely or if your bittersweet memories are too much to handle, surround yourself with friends and family during this time.
Writing down your feelings is a great way to understand your emotions better. It gives you a sense of clarity that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Perhaps you can even gain a better understanding of why this time of the year is so difficult for you and what you can do about it.
If you just don’t want to deal with the festivities, take a trip somewhere alone or with close friends. Enjoying yourself in a new place may even help you gain a new perspective.
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Grieving the loss of a loved one is a difficult time in your life. Even when you have lost someone you love before, it does not make it any less painful. The truth is no one can prepare for death and the grief that comes along with it, which is why having the right support during these times is critical. You may find these books helpful.
If you want a detailed book that may be able to help you through your grieving process step by step, this book is perfect. Written by a grief therapist who has counselled thousands of people who lost their loved ones, Linda writes with empathy and practicality.
This is a famous book that started a national discussion on the five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a renowned psychiatrist who, along with David Kessler, wrote this book from their professional knowledge, personal experiences, and case studies.
This book by famous writer Joan Didion provides readers with front-row seats to her life after the sudden death of her husband in 2003, when she had to take care of an unconscious daughter lying in a hospital bed while also dealing with the loss of her husband for 40 years.
This book gives a different and unique view of grieving and mourning, claiming that it could be transformative and even liberating. Author Jerusha Hull McCormack wrote it after she lost her husband, and she didn't know any other widow to help her get through the pain. So, she decided to write this book for others who are mourning.
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Losing a loved one can be a devastating experience, one for which you can never prepare yourself. It takes a massive toll on your mental health, as you find yourself dealing with all kinds of turbulent emotions. This is precisely why it is so crucial for you to take extra care of your mental health during this time. Here are a few tips to help you with the distress.
Acknowledge and accept your emotions
It is important that you do not try to ignore what you are feeling. You may think that if you don’t want to experience the pain, you simply ignore it, and it will go away on its own. That’s not the way emotions or grieving works.
Understand that you must not run away from your emotions and instead learn to acknowledge them. Whether you are feeling hurt, angry, sad, lonely, or confused, know that it’s reasonable to go through these emotions.
Understand that grief has different stages
In psychology, grief has five different stages – denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance. Understand that during your grieving process, you will go through each of these stages like any other person but in your own time.
There is no set timeline for the stages, and you may even find yourself falling back on previous steps at times. Being aware of the process may therefore be able to help you cope better.
Have the right balance of spending time by yourself and having good company
Last but not least, it’s essential that you spend quality time with yourself as well as others while you grieve. You may want to be alone at times, which is entirely okay, but remember not to isolate yourself completely. Surround yourself with people who make you feel comfortable and who understand what you are going through.
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We are all aware of the mental and emotional symptoms of grief. But when you lose a loved one, it’s not just your mind that is affected. Your body and physical health can be affected too.
Below, we discuss the common physical symptoms of grief that are often overlooked.
While you are grieving, you may find that you have body pains such as back pain, stiffness and soreness, joint pain, headaches, etc. These are results of the increase in the amount of stress hormones released.
While you are grieving, you are under large amounts of stress. This can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to fever, common flu, headaches, and other types of ailments. The surge in stress hormones affects the production of certain white blood cells, weakening your immune system and leaving you prone to illnesses.
Respiratory issues are another common physical symptom of grief. You may find that you have difficulty breathing, or you have a heavy feeling in your chest. Some people even have panic attacks where they are unable to breathe during the episode.
You are under a lot of mental, emotional and physical stress when you grieve, so it’s completely normal to feel like you don’t have any energy to do the things you normally do. Fatigue is one of the most common physical symptoms of grief.
You may find that your appetite has suddenly decreased or increased. Some people change their eating habits drastically. While some find it difficult to even eat, some resort to comfort food, using food as a means of coping with their loss.
Heart problems are also quite common among those who are grieving. Studies have found that a person’s chance of having a heart attack increases with the death of a loved one.
Be sure to consult a health professional to determine the need for assistance when the symptoms become bothersome or life-threatening.
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