grief can sometimes feel intolerable…
dealing with grief
self-care tips to help you through the healing process
Grief can be confusing, frightening and overwhelming. Nothing is more devastating than saying goodbye to a loved one, whether that loss involves a death, a break-up or failing health. Experiencing grief can be a tremendously painful yet inevitable part of life.
Denial, numbness, anxiety, shock, confusion, anger, guilt and despair are common feelings people experience when mourning a major loss. These emotions can be intense and overwhelming. You may hurt physically or sometimes feel numb and out of your body.
As you cope with your grief, here are some self-care techniques to help you through your healing process -
Eight Self-Care Tips for Dealing with Grief
1. Remember that grief looks different for everyone so comparisons aren’t helpful.
• Your grief journey is unique to you. It’s easy and tempting to compare yourself to others and how they seem to be doing, but remember everyone has a different experience with how they work through their grief.
2. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions, as uncomfortable as that may seem.
• Allow yourself to cry, rant and scream then repeat! Whether it’s in your pillow or in the privacy of your car (preferably not while driving!) Let it out!
• Take deep, slow breaths…Inhale, count to 10 and exhale, counting again to 10. Do this throughout the day when you begin to feel overwhelmed.
4. Slow down your schedule and make sure to get plenty of rest.
• Say no to commitments, even though you may feel guilty about this. Remember that you’re allowed to cancel at the last minute!
5. Nourish yourself with good food.
• Remember that you need to eat. It will affect the serotonin and dopamine levels in your body and will keep the nutrients in your body in balance. Skipping meals will never help!
6. Set aside time for yourself and make self-care appointments.
• Do the things you enjoy…take a nice, relaxing bubble bath, listen to music, read, journal, go for a walk on the beach, cuddle with your pet.
7. Avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.
• This only prolongs the grieving process. When we grieve, we long for some sort of spiritual connection and alcohol and drugs gives us a false sense of connection. Grief slaps us in the face with an existential crisis and it can be an opportunity for a deeper spiritual connection.
8. Seek out support, either through friends, a support group or therapy.
• Reach out to friends, join a support group or schedule an appointment for individual therapy.
Suzy Roberts, M.S., AMFT specializes in grief and loss therapy at Gesell Psychotherapy and has helped numerous individuals walk through the painful grieving process.