Navigating the complicated process of grief is never easy. When someone close to you dies, the loss may feel like a weight you can’t lift. Grief involves a mix of emotions that are hard to understand, and while you want to remember and honor your loved one, you also need to take care of yourself. How do you balance all of that while healing yourself through grief?
Healthy ways to grieve
There isn’t a right or wrong way to grieve, but there ways of coping with grief that are healthy and unhealthy. It’s important to embrace your own grief and be true to your feelings while making sure you aren’t harming your mental health. The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing. And when you start to make unhealthy choices, it’s important to learn how to be strong enough to make changes.
Self-care that’s right for you
One of the best ways to honour the person you’re grieving, and their love for you, is to show that same love to yourself during this time. That means making healthy choices and actively choosing self-care.
Getting enough sleep is an important way to help your body heal through grief, both physically and mentally. Some people naturally feel more tired and want to sleep more while grieving, so give yourself permission to do what your body is telling you it needs.
Other people have a harder time getting enough sleep. If that’s your experience, eating right, staying hydrated, and reducing caffeine can help you get the sleep you need.
Besides basic self-care, you also need to listen to yourself and prioritize doing things that nourish you. Those small things that make you feel better are different for everyone. For some people, it’s taking relaxing baths and meditation. For others, it’s exercise and getting out in nature. Or, you can learn breathing exercises that give you pause and help redirect your focus.
Don’t isolate yourself
Feelings of grief are deeply personal, so it’s natural to feel a little alone. You shouldn’t try and manage on your own, though. Being around people who love and care about you, or seeking help from a professional grief counsellor, is essential to healing through grief. That doesn’t mean you always have to talk about your loss. According to the Manchester Carers Forum, the important thing is not to isolate yourself because simply being around others provides the comfort you need.
Embrace your emotions
You probably expect to feel sadness and anger, but it’s also OK to feel happy at times. Laughing and smiling are healthy, too, so don’t hesitate to tell funny stories about your loved one. According to Elite Daily, talking about your loved one and going through old pictures and home movies is one of the best ways to not only heal but also to honor their memory in a meaningful way.
The times when you don’t think about your loved one are fine, too, because part of the process is to keep living through grief. Allowing yourself to keep living doesn’t mean you’re letting go, and it doesn’t mean you’re finished grieving. Simply stay true to your own grief process and realize these complex emotions are normal.
Whether a loss is sudden or expected, when grief hits, you find yourself in a sea of emotions. It’s tempting to use a quick fix like alcohol to mask those feelings, but doing so only buries the pain rather than managing it. Only when you embrace grief and take care of yourself during the process can you heal the pain and truly honour your loved one’s memory.
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