Self-Care During Grief: How To Heal After A Loss

grief: young woman sitting on rock looking at the sea on a sunny day.

Losing a loved one at Christmas or at any other time really is one of the most debilitating experiences anyone can go through. Grief is a normal response to loss, and it manifests itself differently in each person. You may experience a range of emotions from shock, guilt, or anger to disbelief, loneliness, and deep sadness. Grief can also trigger physical symptoms, such as, insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues, and even weaken your immune system and leave you prone to illness, a 2014 study in Immunity & Aging tells us. Although there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, there are several ways you can ease the pain, improve health, and better navigate the process. In time, you’ll come to accept your loss and move forward with your life.

Feel your feelings

You need to truly feel your emotions in order to begin the process of healing. Suppressing “negative” emotions like sadness and pain will only prolong grieving — and may even trigger depression, anxiety, and addiction issues. Creative activities like music, art, knitting, or journaling, are great methods of self-expression. They can bring emotions to the surface, allowing you to acknowledge and work through them.

Talk to others

It’s natural to need time alone to process what’s happened, but don’t shut yourself off from the world. You’re never alone. There’s always someone you can talk to whether it’s a friend, family member, or therapist. Sharing your thoughts and feelings allows you to understand your emotions, come to terms with your loss, and remember your loved one.

Look after yourself

Losing a loved one can leave a massive hole in your life. Sticking to your daily routine and hobbies can help retain a sense of normalcy after bereavement. You should eat a balanced diet, drink water, and exercise regularly. Taking care of your physical health will help you feel better and improve your sleep pattern as well.

It’s also important to leave any major decisions for when you’re in a better mindset. You may need to move to a new home, get a higher-paying job, or deal with new financial responsibilities following bereavement. But grief can hamper judgment and cause you to make rash, fear-based decisions. Wait until you have the mental clarity to make life decisions which move you forward, rather than leave you worse off.

Grief isn’t a cut-and-dry process. It’s unique to the individual. Work on recognizing, accepting, and managing the plethora of emotions you experience. You’ll eventually come to accept your loss and be ready to start living life again.

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