When someone you love dies, it can feel like your entire world has been swept away. The stress and pain of dealing with grief can be one of the most intense experiences of your life. However, there are a few things you can do to feel a bit more grounded, including taking these self-care and grief tips to heart.
Know That Grief Is Different for Everyone
Grief can make people think, feel, and even say a variety of things. Your friends and loved ones may mean well when they encourage you to work through certain steps in the grieving process, but it’s important to remember that not everyone experiences grief in the same way or on the same timeline, and this is 100 percent okay. For many living with grief, it’s described grief as more like waves in the ocean rather than steps in a process. Just understand that although it may not seem possible right now, those breaks between waves will become more frequent.
It’s Okay to Reach Out for Support
While there is no set process for dealing with grief, some people find it helpful to seek professional help. You may be unable to move past feelings of pain, regret, or anger, and this can make it feel like you’re losing control. Many have found that visiting a grief support group or counselor can help. You can find a list of grief support programs across the United States HERE. Also, many insurance policies, including Medicare Part B plans, provide coverage for counseling sessions, but you should check to see what sort of benefits your plan offers.
Know That Nourishing Your Body Can Help
While you should allow yourself some time to process your feelings of grief, it’s also important to keep your body and mind strong enough to make it through these tough times. One way you can do both is by eating mental health-boosting foods that are also good for your overall health. Whole foods like bananas, carrots, beans, dark berries, avocados, and beets may help fend off overwhelming feelings of sadness. If you have no appetite, try blending a few of these foods into a smoothie in order to get nutrients into your body. Also, try to fit some gentle exercise into your routine, which can be as simple as taking a walk or doing some yoga.
It’s Also Okay to Splurge or Get Some Extra Rest
Many people find the physical symptoms of grief to be even more exhausting than the emotional ones. While it can be important to get some fresh air and exercise, you don’t have to push yourself to do too much too soon. Getting quality rest and taking time to relax could just be the self-care you need to sustain your emotional and physical well-being right now, and that’s completely fine. Now is the time to allow yourself to spend time watching your favorite shows or eating your favorite comfort foods. So, don’t let feelings of guilt keep you from what you need.
Just Take the Grieving Process One Moment at a Time
People will tell you to take this “one day at a time,” but living with grief requires you to take things one minute, or even second, at a time. Because one moment you can feel like you are on top of the world and then the next you may see, hear or think of something that brings you right back to your feelings of grief. Coping with triggers like these can be difficult but it can also be important. So, try to take things one moment and memory at a time.
There are no secrets or tricks to living with grief. Grief is challenging but taking better care of yourself really can help. So be patient and be compassionate with yourself.
Written by: Lucille Rosetti, TheBereaved.org