Self-care when you’re going through a bereavement
Losing someone we love can turn our world upside-down. It feels as if nothing will be OK again and the idea of returning to our everyday life seems impossible. Taking the time you need to grieve is so important and knowing that while things may never be the same again, you will adjust to life without them and learn how to carry them in your heart.
Everyone responds to loss differently and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Different people will also find different things helpful, but giving yourself space, care and attention is essential.
Here are some things to keep in mind during bereavement:
Listen to yourself
Remember, no one knows you better than you. As well-meaning as others may be with their advice and support, ultimately it helps if you listen to yourself and do what feels right for you. If you want to stay in bed and cry – do this. Check in with yourself regularly and see if what you’re doing is helping you feel better or worse.
Express your emotions
Keeping your thoughts and emotions bottled up can prolong the grieving process. If you find it difficult to talk about how you feel, try writing it down in a journal. You may even want to try drawing, painting or making music. You may feel a real mix of emotions, try not to shy away from them – remember all feelings are valid and worthy. Give them space to breathe.
Take it slow
Keeping yourself busy and throwing yourself into work may seem like a good idea, but often this is a way of pushing down difficult feelings.
Try to take things slowly and don’t rush yourself to get back into your normal routine until you’re ready.
Take care of your body
When grief takes over, it can be easy to let things like cooking, exercising and sleeping fall by the wayside. Now is the time to lean on your support network.
See if anyone can help you put together some meals, try getting out for walks and do your best to get enough sleep.
Take care of your mind
If you feel stuck in the bereavement process or have felt very low for a long time, it could be time to get some support. Speaking to a counsellor or even joining a support group can help you process your feelings.
Eventually, you will find your way to a new routine and way of life. This doesn’t mean you’ll forget them but, instead, find a place to hold their memory without sacrificing your own sense of wellbeing. Living your life to the fullest can be the greatest way to honour a lost loved one.