How to manage life when a loved one is in prison

When a loved one goes to prison, it’s hard on them and you. Both parties are losing something and will most likely go through the stages of grief.

Your loved one is not only losing their freedom, but they may feel like they’re losing their connections with family and friends. It can feel very lonely for them. But it can also feel lonely for you, the one watching your loved one being locked up.

It can be hard to manage these feelings, but if you are to move forward and live your best life, you need to find a way out of the spiral.

Coping techniques and support from others can help you live again. You need to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. You need to deal with those feelings head-on, whether they be grief, depression, stress, anger, or guilt.

Don’t do this alone. Trying to take on these overwhelming emotions by yourself can keep you in a vicious cycle of negative feelings. Instead, work them out with support. You can join a support group online or in-person. I have a support group on Facebook that you’re welcome to join. You may also want to talk to a counselor about what you’re working through. Journaling is another great way to work through your thoughts and feelings, allowing yourself to deal with and release them.

Arm yourself with knowledge. Know what you can do. You may be feeling like everything is out of your control right now. But that isn’t true. You can still find ways to connect with your loved one. Learn all the rules about visitation and what you’re allowed to send. Encourage your loved one to call. Submit money into an account so that your loved one can reach out to you more often. You may be depressed about not being able to spend as much time as you’d like, but try to embrace what you can have and focus on those moments.

Make time to care for yourself. Negative feelings can keep you from being your best self. You need to take care of your well-being. Don’t neglect sleep, exercise or nutrition. Make all three a priority. The better you feel physically the better you will feel mentally.

It’s a tough road ahead. But, try to work through these difficult feelings, focus on the present, stay connected with your loved one and work on bringing positivity into your life.

[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]

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