The Grieving Process and Self Care What is self-care and why is it so important to our mourning process? Self-care is what you do to take care of yourself —...
The Grieving Process and Self Care
What is self-care and why is it so important to our mourning process?
Self-care is what you do to take care of yourself — mentally, physically, and spiritually. Just as life circumstances change the way we live our lives, so do the means of taking care of ourselves. That means, there is no “one size fits all.” During grief, we are already working hard to keep our heads above water, and we find that the things that used to work, perhaps don’t work for us anymore. During intense grief, we have special needs, and it is so important not to ignore them.
Research shows that there are many strategies you can adopt to help no matter where you are in your journey.
Getting support from people you love and from those who bring you comfort is number one on my list. Have those “faithful and trust-worthy” people in your life who allow you to authentically mourn — to be yourself with your grief. It sometimes seems that talking about our grief is beyond painful and we often tend to avoid it. Even with that obstacle, opening up about our emotions helps us feel understood, rather alone and isolated.
Sharing with people who have similar losses
People who share similar losses may provide comfort because they can validate what you might be experiencing. Seeing how they have worked through their pain can give you good coping strategies and help you feel less alone. They are free of judgment and can share a certain kinship with you which can be comforting, and be honest about how you are feeling. When people ask, “how are you,” it is OK to let them know you are having a bad day, thank them for their concern, and let them know how they can best reach out. Even better, let them know what you need. It helps them to know how they can best support you.
Being gentle with yourself
We have all experienced the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows of grief. When we become aware of those intense moments — those ugly “grief bursts” just know it is a way of processing our pain. Remember that like waves in the ocean or the clouds in the sky, those moments will pass. Be kind to yourself when they happen and have confidence with each step you take through this journey, you will be wiser and more confident.
Reframing your thoughts
As we become more familiar with our grief, it is helpful not to let ourselves get “stuck” in our loss. Sometimes our belief structures from the past just don’t fit. Give yourself the freedom to change and grow. We can’t help but let our losses affect us but we can learn so much about ourselves when we are honest and flexible with ourselves.
Reframing our thoughts is a helpful way to create healing momentum. Here are some common ideas:
“I could have done something to prevent my child’s death” could be reframed by saying “Under the circumstances, I did everything I knew to do to protect, love, and nourish my child.”
“This grief of losing my spouse is so hard I know I never will be able to heal” could be reframed by saying “I know this journey is hard, but I know that I can learn from my experience of loss and live more powerfully and authentically as I move forward.”
“I thought I had everything under control so why did this happen” can be reframed to “I now realize that I am not in control and I can now live in the present moment aware and embracing of life.”
Setting your intention to heal
When working with the many people who are supported by EricsHouse, I have learned that every person and every journey is different. We often talk about those “baby steps” we need to take each day to support our healing. Take a healing challenge. Each day do one thing that gives you comfort. A walk, a workout, cooking comfort food, meditation, taking a warm bath, doing something that gives you a sense of self-love and well-being. With time you will heal, rise above the challenges of loss, and blossom into a new version of you!
EricsHouse is a non-profit based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Their mission is to inspire hope, healing, and new beginnings for people who have suddenly lost someone they love. With a specialization in substance and suicide losses, they walk alongside grieving individuals and families with understanding, compassion, and encouragement so that they may achieve emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. http://www.ericshouse.org