How to Cope With Grief (3) - Taking Care of Yourself

How to Cope With Grief (3) - Taking Care of Yourself

1. Get some rest. It may sound silly to make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep a day, but this is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Chances are, you're staying up all night worrying, or you may be spending over 14 hours a day in bed because you can't make yourself get up to face the day. Try to find a balance, getting enough sleep but not too much, even if it's a struggle to get up.

  • If you're having trouble sleeping, take it easy on the caffeine.
  • If you really can't sleep, you can get some medication if that's what your doctor thinks you need, but don't depend on it too much.

2. Stay physically healthy. People who are coping with grief tend to stop looking after their health. Maybe you can barely eat one meal a day because you're too sad, or maybe all you can do is order pizza twice a day because you can't bring yourself to go food shopping or to cook a normal meal. Force yourself to eat three balanced meals a day as often as you can and to make sure you're eating foods that make you feel good and energetic, not even more sluggish and tired.

  • If you really can't bring yourself to cook, lean on a friend who can make some comforting meals for you.
  • Try to exercise at least once a week -- ideally, every other day, if you can. Even taking a walk for 30 minutes a day will make you feel stronger and can improve your mood.
  • This means staying away from alcohol until you're feeling more stable.
3. Look after your mental health. Everyone reacts to grief differently, and it's great if you're already seeing a counsellor, but you need to check in with yourself to make sure you're not feeling overwhelmingly depressed, anxious, or angry. Talk to your doctor or mental health care professional if you feel unable to do almost anything, can barely leave the house, or feel anxiety or anger about your every move. Looking after your mind is just as important as looking after your body, especially during this difficult time.
4. Spend some time outdoors. The sun has been shown to make people feel happier. Go sit in a park instead of sulking in your room. Walk that 20 minutes to the grocery store instead of driving. Sit on your back porch when you're reading instead of staying in bed. These small changes can make a big difference.
5. Do some activities in an attempt to get over your grief. Sitting there and constantly thinking about the grief would only bring more grief. Instead doing some productive activities would help to cope with it.
  • Meditate. One of the purpose of meditation is to help find the inner strength, which you are not conscious about. This inner strength can be extremely useful to feel and become strong from the inside. Meditating just about 10 minutes can be very beneficial.
  • Play some good music. Music has an amazing power to change mood instantaneously. So playing some good music and even trying to dance to it is a good activity to shake off your grief. Remember there is a high chance that playing sad music is not going to help you as it may make you even more sad, so happy and inspiring music is recommended.
  • Have fun. Remember the most important thing is to have fun.
  • Feel genuinely grateful for the things you have. If your friends and family is supporting you, music, good food, garden etc basically you can feel grateful for anything which has a positive effect in your life. So look up at the amazing and infinite universe, spread your arms and say 'Thank you' for what you have and try to feel the gratitude. It is a very powerful activity and exercise to get over grief.

6. Write in a journal. Writing in a journal at least once every day or two can help you take stock of your emotions, feel more in control, and feel like you're reflecting on how you're going about your everyday life. You may feel that life has been passing you by since the loss and that you've barely had time to think, and writing in a journal can help you slow down and get in more touch with your emotions.

7. Prepare to face your triggers. Grief doesn't move on an even trajectory, and yes, you will feel worse during some moments that can bring back all of the heartache. These moments tend to be the holidays, family events, or interactions with any people who remind you of your loss more than others. If you know that you're going to face an event or group of people that will make you think even more about your loved one, make sure that you have extra support and an escape plan if one is necessary.

  • If you're used to spending Thanksgiving with your loved one, make sure you make alternate plans for where to go months in advance so you're not home alone during this time.

8. Don't make any big life decisions yet. Wait until you feel calmer and more rational before making any big decisions. The loss you're feeling may make you think that's it's high time to ask for a divorce, quit your job, move across the country, or to do something very dramatic, but you should take some time to reflect before you decide whether or not this is really the best plan for you. Even if you've been thinking about these changes for a long time, it's better to make these decisions with a cool head than to do something you will regret later.

  • Once you've made a decision in your head, give yourself at least two months to act on it. When the time rolls around, ask yourself if it was really as good of an idea as it seemed.

9. Find a new routine. Though you can't rearrange your life completely to deal with your loss, the more changes you can make, the better. Find a new coffee shop other than the one where you and your loved one went on Sunday morning. Find a new work schedule that works for you. Pick up a new hobby or interest, and throw yourself into it a few times a week. Try a new form of exercise, like yoga or running. Though you don't have to change everything in your life, especially if it was all working pretty well before, you should find some new things that give you pleasure that don't make you think of your loved one.

10. Be patient. This doesn't mean that you should sit back and wait for the day when your grief magically goes away. Unfortunately, that day won't come. But slowly, you will realize that you are able to live with your grief and to move forward. The person you lost will always be special to you and will be on your mind, but there will come a day when you are no longer overwhelmed by your loss. Keep telling yourself that it does get better, however corny it sounds, and work on taking care of yourself in the meantime.

Source: wikiHow / How to Cope With Grief / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

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