This last year has pretty much been a wash for me in terms of getting anything productive done with my business or writing here on this blog. Grief turned to depression and anxiety, all of which left me hiding under the covers in bed for months at a time. Yes, I gave myself permission to feel it all, but it wasn’t always an easy way to live.
Here are some things for you to keep in mind if you are struggling with grief. Caring for yourself may not be high on your priority list if you already feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, like me having to care for my daughter, and adding one more task may not seem possible.
But if anything, you need extra care when you’re grieving. It’s not selfish or wrong to take time out for self-care. It’s important that you nurture your mind, body, and spirit. This is much like the old adage of being on a plane that is going down. You need the oxygen mask before you take care of your kids, family or other passengers. Self-care during grief is the same way. If you don’t take some time for you, it’s all going to fall apart.
Here’s a simple list of things to you can do for yourself.
Eat a nutritious meal.
Sometimes, people that are grieving have difficulty finding joy in anything. You may not like your favorite meals and snacks right now. They may taste weird to you or you may find you just can’t enjoy them. This is common so don’t be alarmed if it happens to you. As you work through your grief, your normal appetite will eventually return.
Do a creative activity.
Being creative can help you release strong emotions. You might like to try adult coloring, knitting, or jewelry making. Don’t get discouraged if you try one activity and find you don’t enjoy it. You may have to try several activities before you discover the one that’s best for you.
Sit back and let someone else care for you. Take a spa day, get a massage or a pedicure. Hire a cleaning service to scrub your home from top to bottom. Get a shampoo and haircut at your local beauty salon. Go out to your favorite restaurant and order dinner for yourself.
Exercise can boost endorphins and make you feel better. If you think you’re up to exercising, then try a gentle activity. Remember your body is still under a significant amount of stress so go easy on yourself. Some good exercise activities include yoga, walking, or swimming.
Talk it out.
Grief can cause you to question your entire belief system. Maybe you felt you received a sign from the Universe that your loved one was going to be healed but now, they’re gone. Maybe you thought marriage was supposed to be for life but now you’re in the middle of a divorce. Maybe you thought if you did the right things, you’d never be a victim of a violent crime.
Don’t struggle with your doubts and fears alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or a spiritual leader to share your feelings. The other person may not have any answers that can comfort you but having space to voice your doubts is important for your healing.
Listen to your body.
When you’re grieving, your normal routine is disrupted. You may not be sleeping as much or you may be sleeping more than usual. You may be eating more or less than you typically do. You might be working more or you might find yourself working fewer hours.
It’s essential that you honor your body during this time. If you need to nap in the middle of the day, don’t feel guilty. If you need to turn off your smartphone and watch movies all day, then do it.
Take time to care for yourself.
In the middle of your grief, don’t forget to take time for you. Be kind to yourself and look after your mind and body as if you were caring for a hurting friend.