Taking Care of Yourself During Grief

Time:  Time alone; and time with others whom you trust and who will listen when you need to talk. Weeks, months and years of time to feel and understand the feelings that go along with the loss.

Rest: Relaxation…Exercise…Nourishment…Diversion. You may need extra amounts of things you needed before. Hot Baths, afternoon naps, a trip, a “cause” to work, to help others…any of these things may give you a life. Grief is an exhausting process emotionally. You need to replenish yourself. Follow what feels healing to you and what connects you to the people and things you love.

Security: Try to reduce or find help for financial or other stress in your life. Allow yourself to be close to those you trust. Getting back into a routine helps. You may need to allow yourself to do things at your own pace.

Hope: You may find hope and comfort from those who have experienced a similar loss. Knowing some things that helped them, and realizing that they have recovered and time does help, may give you hope that sometime in the future your grief will be less raw and painful.

Caring:  Try to allow yourself to accept the expression of caring from others even though they may be uneasy and awkward. Helping a friend or relative also suffering the same loss may bring a feeling of closeness with that person.

Goals: For a while, it may seem that much of life is without meaning. At times like these, small goals are helpful. Something to look forward to like a visit from a friend, attending a support group, a movie tomorrow night, or a trip next month helps you get through the time in the immediate future. Living one day at a time is a rule of thumb. At first, don’t be surprised if your enjoyment of these things isn’t the same. This is normal. As time passes you may need to work on some longer-range goals to give some structure and direction in your life. You may need guidance or counseling to help with this.

Small Pleasures: Do not underestimate the healing effects of small pleasures. Sunsets, a walk in the woods, a favorite food – all are small steps toward regaining your pleasure in life itself.

Permission to Backslide: Sometimes after a period of feeling good, we find ourselves back in the old feelings of extreme sadness, despair, or anger. This is often the nature of grief, up and down, and it may happen over and over for a time. It happens because as humans, we cannot take in all the pain and the meaning of death at once. So we let it in a little at a time.

Talking to Others: Many people find it helpful to seek out trusted friends to share their grief. Keeping your feelings inside will not make them go away. If friends, however, are critical or offer well-intentioned but unhelpful advice, you may want to seek a grief support group.

Support Groups: Even though you may have support from family and friends, there’s a special understanding that only others who are themselves in grief can provide. If you feel you could benefit by sharing your experiences with others, there are many services that offer such support.

Reading: Learning more about the grief experience can help you accept your feelings more easily and provide insights into your grief.

Looking Ahead: During this time you may often feel that you have less motivation to accomplish anything; that the daily activities that you normally enjoy are losing their meaning. This is normal. An important part of coping with your grief is to be able to have a reason to begin another day. Each day, try and have at least one thing you wish to accomplish and write it down where you can see it. It need not be a big goal; the important thing is that you can enjoy looking forward to it. Taking a walk, eating dinner with a friend, staring a new project or hobby are all good examples.

Writing or Recording: Some people find it helpful to write or tape record their grief experiences. In writing, you don’t need to be concerned about spelling or grammar.  Just let the words flow as they will. Remember that no one will read it except you. The process of writing or talking can help make things clearer, and help you to see your feelings from a new perspective.

Travel: At some point during grief, you may feel the need to “get away from it all”. Your home or apartment may seem like a prison or be a source of sad memories from which you would like to escape for a while. Travel can provide you with a break from grief and give you some needed time to yourself in which to reflect and relax.

Finding out what’s in Your Community: Each community offers a variety of activities, resources, clubs, etc. You may want to talk to others or look in your local telephone directory and/or Google your area, to see what’s available where you live.

Northern Indiana Funeral Care can help you find resources to help you cope with grief.  Call us toll-free at (260) 456-0890 or visit our website.

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