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Self-care Tips for Those Who Are Grieving

The loss of someone or something important to you is among life’s greatest challenges. In most cases, the pain can be devastating. You may deal with all kinds of complex and unanticipated emotions, from shock to anger to deep, lingering sadness. The experience can also affect your physical health, making it a struggle to eat, sleep or even think correctly.

Certainly, all of these are normal reactions. But while there are no right or wrong ways to cope with grief, there is an approach that can help ease you into the entire process.

Self-care

Grieving is just one more big reason you have to take care of yourself. The stress of this experience can easily exhaust your physical and emotional strength. That’s why you need to look after your physical and emotional needs as you go through this difficult time.

Acceptance

You can try to repress your grief, but not for all time. Acknowledging your pain is important to healing. Shunning your feelings of sadness and loss only extends the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also give rise to complications, from depression to substance abuse to physical illness.

Tangible or Creative Expression

Expressing your grief in some tangible or creative way helps in processing your grief. For instance, write about it in your journal. If you lost a loved one, write a letter saying all that you wanted to say but never got to; create a scrapbook or photo album of the person’s life; or join a cause or organization that your loved one was part of.

Physical Health

Always remember that the mind and body are connected. If you are physically healthy, it will be easier to regain emotional health. You can fight stress and fatigue by sleeping, eating and exercising right. Alcohol or drugs can only numb your pain temporarily and set the stage for long-term ruin.

Hobbies and Interests

There’s comfort in doing all the things you used to do, especially activities that always gave you joy. The pain always lessens as you connect with other people again. However, don’t let them force you into feeling this or that, and don’t force yourself either. Your grief is a being on its own, and no one can tell you when you need to move on or let go. Don’t be afraid to be judged or embarrassed by whatever feelings you have. You can cry or not cry, be angry or you can even smile and laugh at tiny moments of joy.

Preparation

When trying to resolve your pain and grief, be ready for “triggers,” such as holidays, anniversaries, and other events that can refresh memories and feelings. Most importantly, keep in mind that this is totally normal. Again, accept the pain and deal with it, but not without expressing it.
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