1. Don’t keep asking WHY. It's a waste of time and an energy-draining question.
2. Spend as much time as possible taking care of yourself. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. This can be as simple as taking a bath, listening to soft music, or binge eating cake. Do anything that feeds your soul and brings you comfort, no matter what it is.
3. Surround yourself with positive reminders. I’m talking about a mug that sits in your cabinet and says, “Sorry, I’m awesome!” Wake up everyday with something to grab, read, touch, or smell that will put you in the right frame of mind to get out of bed and seize the day.
4. Keep reminders of what you are grateful for, as well as happy things you wish for your future, everywhere. Put them in a place that allows you to see them constantly, like at your bedside, or in your car, desk, office, or kitchen.
5. Understand that people are at a loss of what to say to you and/or what to do for you. Don’t take this personally; it's the nature of the process, and it will often get better with time.
6. Put your favorite sayings and quotes in frames to bring more attention to them.
7. Make a list of reasons why you're happy, and frame it like a prized photo! Write down even the smallest things, like "Today I got asked out for some ice cream by the most beautiful person on the planet!" Or "I took my kids to the movies today, and all of us had the most amazing time." This will help you remember there are always reasons to be happy.
8. Surround yourself ONLY with people you can trust and those who love you unconditionally. You may have a lot of fair weather friends out there who won’t necessarily be there when you're crying and need a shoulder to blow your nose on.
9. ASK for help! Wonderful, unexpected people--even some that you never even knew--may come into your life and help you in many ways. But, you have to assume they won’t know how to help you until they get cues from you.
10. Know that this time of your life can be a gift, as it will show you how many beautiful, compassionate, and supportive souls there are wanting to help you. However, also know that unfortunately, there are many waiting to take advantage of you during your most vulnerable time. No matter how strong of a person you are, you will be highly vulnerable during these first 12 months.
11. Never, EVER, confuse vulnerability with weakness. Even if it seems you have it all together, grief will derail you. Be aware that while you may be vulnerable, you are NOT weak! You are strong, you are a warrior, and you will get through this.
12. Lastly--and this is important--practice self compassion and patience, because healing is a process. It's sad, it's hard, and it's unfair, but it will be alright. You can handle this, because I promise that you can handle anything.