How to Minimize Self Imposed Isolation in Grief

Self imposed isolation occurs when a person is separated from other people on a regular basis and/or for extended periods of time. It is not unusual for a person suffering from grief to voluntarily opt into a state of solitude. This is called self imposed isolation. Isolation has been linked to depression, and may complicate and prolong the grieving process. For that reason, it is important to counter isolation whenever possible. Follow these guidelines for how to minimize self imposed isolation in grief.


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    Learn how to identify isolation. Any behavior outside of what would be considered normal for you may be a sign of self imposed isolation. Pay attention to any expression of the following:
    • Avoidance of social situations. You may withdraw from activities that you once enjoyed in order to avoid being around people, including close family and friends. Additionally, you may avoid phone calls.
    • Introversion in group settings. It may be hard to speak, or express yourself in any capacity, when in a social setting.
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    Partner with someone who understands. Find a friend, coworker, family member, support group member or other association who has already lived through what you are grieving. Make it a point to talk to that person on a regularly scheduled basis, even when you don't feel like it, in order to gradually ease your self imposed isolation.
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    Express yourself. There are many emotions associated with grief, and many ways to get them out, including screaming, crying, singing, writing, exercising, talking and painting. Recognize that there are 5 stages of grief, each with its own set of emotions, and that it is only natural to want to isolate some when you are experiencing grief. You may experience 1 or more of the grief stages at a time, and in any order:
    • Denial. When you incur a loss that causes grief, the initial shock may trigger your need to deny the reality or gravity of the situation.
    • Bargaining. Once the reality of your grief sets in, you may be compelled to beg a higher power for a trade-off. For example, you may pray that you'd be willing to go to church more often, in exchange for 1 more chance with your ex-spouse.
    • Anger. You may feel the need to place blame, and/or to lash out at the forces or circumstances that led to your grief.
    • Depression. During this phase, you may become sad and introverted, and may feel the need to reflect on the cause of your grief. This state is closely associated with self imposed isolation.
    • Acceptance. This stage occurs once you recognize that the cause of your grief is a reality, and that you will have to accept that reality into your life.
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    Use your alone time in a constructive way. This will help you deal with your grief and, in turn, minimize your need for social isolation. There are constructive activities you can do in private that could also provide social outlets. For example, a love for reading or art could translate to a book club or art association membership, and an interest in music could lead to an evening at the symphony with friends.
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    Help others who are dealing with isolation in grief. Offering support to people who are in a situation similar to yours can renew your sense of purpose and lessen your feeling of isolation. You may find these people in support groups or by volunteering for an altruistic organization.
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    Develop your spirituality. Nurturing a perceived connection to a higher power not only provides you with a sense of comfort, but also makes you feel as though you are never alone, even when you are in the midst of social isolation. You may develop your spirituality in the following ways:
    • Meditation. There are meditations specifically developed to help those who are suffering from isolation in grief. Choose one that you are comfortable with and practice it for at least 20 minutes a day. You may find meditations online, in books and through mental health professionals.
    • Yoga. You can learn and practice yoga from the comfort of your own home, through books, websites and/or videos, or you may opt for the social setting of a class.
    • Religion and prayer. You may attend church services, join a bible study and/or participate in a prayer group.
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    Be Gentle & Accountable. Grief can be overwhelming and consuming. Taking the necessary time to honor your emotions is essential however; remain mindful not to lose your footing. Be mindful of the company you keep. Surround yourself with uplifting friends/family that help you stay centered while honoring your feelings rather those who confuse your grief with their own experience run them on loop.


  • Read a lot. Lose yourself in books.
  • Art can help to minimize the chances of depression by letting you free your inner self. No-one will judge you.
  • Don't let anyone set a time on your grief, there isn't one.

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Categories: Creating Life Balance | Personality Traits and Attributes