When your spouse dies, your world falls apart. When it’s an unexpected death, it’s devastating.

Even if your spouse was sick and is no longer suffering, it’s a difficult transition to move forward in life.

Everyone’s reaction to grief is different. While there are five stages defined for the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance), it’s not a linear progression.

You may skip stages or even repeat stages. The key is to be patient with your emotions and give yourself time to heal.

Take time during your healing to spend by yourself. Use that time to reminisce about the past but also to think about the future.

Life continues to move forward. Give yourself permission to be selfish with your time.

Here are suggestions on what to do during your “me-time”:

1- Go for long walks without using a headset. Listen to nature. Listen to your heart. Clear your mind.

2- Stay away from social media and focus on yourself. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. But during difficult times, it can deepen sorrow and depression. Post a comment that you’re taking time out from social media. Those who really care will respect your decision and find other ways to reach you.

3- Start defining what your future life will look like. Figure out what you want to remain the same and what you want to change. Explore how you will spend your time if you are no longer working.

4- Learn to say “no.” During this time of healing, avoid cluttering your calendar with obligations. Give yourself time to grieve and take care of yourself.

There’s no right way or wrong way to recover from the death of a spouse. If you find yourself stuck in one of the grieving stages, seek help. You’ll find as you begin thinking about your future, it’ll be easier to move forward.

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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”