Caring for Yourself in Grief
Caring for Yourself in Grief
The passing of a loved one is never an easy burden to shoulder. Grief affects everyone in different ways, which can sometimes make it difficult to reach out to people for help when you yourself are grieving. It may also feel difficult, or even disrespectful to your late friend or family member, to go about your normal routine. Does that mean your only option is to sit alone in your sadness?
Not at all. It’s important to grieve at your own pace, which involves showing yourself care and love as you walk through your grief. When you are ready to reach out to the people around you for external support and love, you have the freedom to do that. But in the meantime, continue reading to learn about five simple ways to practice self-care as you grieve.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Grieving is a natural process that, in theory, gives you time to process what has happened and to come to terms with your loss. However, in reality, grief may seem more sinister than that—cruelly telling you lies about yourself that you may begin to internalize.
To combat this, practice showing kindness to yourself. Talk kindly to yourself, the way you would to a close friend. Speak encouraging words to yourself. Buy yourself a gift or a treat as a way of practicing generosity. You are doing a hard thing by grieving, and you deserve to have kindness shown to you.
2. Give Your Emotions an Outlet
You may be tempted to bottle up your sadness and keep it out of sight. However, repressing your natural emotions will only cause them to spill over in the future. Give yourself space and grace to feel what you’re feeling. Find a creative or physical outlet to express yourself—whether it’s painting, axe-throwing, music, running, journaling, praying, cooking, or something else that allows you to release your emotions in a healthy way.
3. Get Your Sleep
Your body does its best healing when you’re asleep. Not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re filling your days with, be sure to prioritize blocking off time to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. This will help your mind and body to heal and recover.
4. Practice Personal Hygiene
Practicing personal hygiene keeps you from getting physically ill and can improve your mental state as well. If you have the energy, take a long shower. Use your favorite, best-smelling products. Brush your teeth, put on deodorant, and add a spritz or two of the expensive cologne or perfume you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Take time to throw out garbage that may have accumulated in your home. A clean body and a clean room won’t negate the effects of grief, but they will create a more healthier, conducive, and nourishing space for you to grieve in.
While in the clutches of grief, however, you may find that you don’t have the energy to even get out of bed, much less take a shower. If that’s where you find yourself, that’s okay. Do what you can from where you are. Clear garbage off your nightstand (even if it means sweeping it onto the floor) so that you have a clear space around you. Hydrate yourself with your water bottle. When it comes to hygiene, something is always better than nothing. You’ll be able to do more when you’re ready.
Grief is not a linear path to follow. It twists and turns and may even trick you into believing that it’s gone until it hits you again like a brick out of the blue. Be kind to yourself, feel your emotions, get some sleep, and practice hygiene. None of these things will remove grief, but all of them will help you remember that you’re a person who deserves care.