How Getting Organized and Setting Goals Can Help You Work Through Loss

Getting organized can help you focus on what’s important after loss. You may have your own approach to getting started. For some reason, whenever I experience any type of loss (not necessarily related to the death of someone), one of the first things I do is reorganize my tiny clothes closet and desk. For years, I couldn’t understand why I would do this, but I’ve finally figured it out. My closets and desk tend to be a bit unkempt. (I still have a note from my second-grade teacher that said, “Linda is a good student, but she keeps her desk messy.” Nothing much has changed since that time.) Organizing the closet gives me a sense of control and a fresh start.

Before you begin looking at developing priorities and goals, pick something easy that needs to be done so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment. It might be as simple as paying bills, cleaning out your email inbox, pulling weeds in the garden, or fixing something that’s broken. Then you can feel ready to move on to bigger challenges.

Here are examples of priorities and goals to consider for the first year after loss.

  • Stay mentally and physically healthy.
  • Visit with friends and family more often. Make a few new friends.
  • Take control of finances and develop a financial plan.
  • Don’t accept more work than you can handle.
  • Invest time in a hobby or sport.
  • Identify what makes you happy, gives you something to look forward to, and gives you hope.
  • Travel with a friend, partner, or relative, even if that includes simple outdoor day trips.