Grief is both a complex mental and emotional set of changes that everyone goes through a bit differently. When you’re in the throes of grief, self-care can be challenging at best, but it is essential to your long-term health and wellbeing. The Grave Woman can be a beacon during this time, helping you deal with both necessary and practical concerns and providing tips to help you move toward healing.
Stay Connected to Friends
When friends ask you what they can do to help you through a grieving period, tell them. Whether it’s sitting with you in silence or helping with childcare or meal preparation, allow yourself to lean on those who are offering their support. This is especially important as you make your way through the first year of a loss. Often, well-meaning friends will stay in constant contact in the early days and then taper off, but the first year can often be the toughest. According to Psychology Today, tell your closest friends what you need and ask them to stay connected.
Spend Time With Family
When a family experiences a loss, commiserating and grieving together can help ease the pain. This can be an especially strong bonding period where you share family memories, talk about the missing loved one, and embrace the opportunity to cherish your relationships and make them stronger. If you’re far removed from family, set a standing time and day to talk regularly. It will give everyone something to look forward to as a constant in what often feels like a rapidly evolving world.
Join a Grief Support Group
Grief support groups can allow you to share and process your feelings with others who are going through similar circumstances. They may have advice and coping techniques you haven’t thought of. They can also offer a different type of support from family and friends, who may also be going through their own grieving process. In a group setting, you can open up and talk about things you might not be comfortable divulging in more familiar settings.
Take Care of You
It’s important to have grace with yourself when you’re going through the grieving process. Go for long walks, listen to soothing music, and sit and meditate or pray in a way that helps you feel centered. Eat healthy foods, reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption, and try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day to create a familiar routine. You may benefit from temporary sleep aids if you’re having trouble getting the rejuvenating rest you need. Recognize what triggers extreme sadness or stress and be proactive in caring for yourself in these times.
Grieving a loss - of a person, a job, a marriage, a pet - is a difficult time of life. Recognizing and understanding the signs of grief can help you navigate this challenging time. While there is no “timeline” for grief, you should continually set new, small goals for yourself that lead to a more stable future. It might be as simple as gardening or accepting a friend’s invitation to dinner. If for any reason you feel you are stalled in your grief, or you’re feeling deeply despondent, talk to your primary care provider, or in the case of emergency, call 911.
The Grave Woman helps individuals and organizations deal with death and dying, grief support, and recovery. Visit the site to learn more and reach out for a consultation.
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About the Author
Camille created Bereaver after she went through the ups and downs of the bereavement process herself following the loss of her parents and husband. With the help of her friend who was also experiencing a loss of her own, she learned how to grieve the healthy way, and she wants to share that with others. There is no one way to grieve, but it is important to do it in a way that supports your physical and mental health throughout.
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using our contact page.