Health and Fitness

Caring for Yourself Through Grief: How to Heal While Honoring Your Loss

Jason Lewis
Published On
May 22, 2019

We all know loss is a fact of life, but the very personal experience of grief can be confusing and overwhelming. How do you know if you’re doing grief “right”? These feelings are entirely normal, and there isn’t a specific way to grieve - it’s highly individual. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself while grieving and honor the memory of your loved one through the process.

Give Yourself Permission

Whatever your feelings are - sadness, anger, frustration - give yourself permission to feel and express them. Grief is complex, and having a range of emotions is normal. Be kind to yourself by acknowledging that it’s perfectly okay to feel the way you do. Along the same lines, give yourself permission to do what’s best for you at the moment. At times, you may need to be alone. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the people surrounding you or simply need a break from the sadness, it’s ok to take a timeout for yourself.

At other times, you will need the support of others. Some friends may feel uncomfortable contacting you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want you to reach out. Along with leaning on friends and family members, it’s also good to reach out beyond your immediate support system. Everyone experiences grief differently, and yet, there are commonalities that help us feel understood and connected. Joining a grief support group can help you make those connections. Many people also now choose online bereavement programs. Online support gives you resources that you can access from the comfort of home, anytime you need it.

Do Things That Are Positive

You should always give yourself permission to feel sad and cry, but it’s just as important to give yourself permission to feel better. This includes caring for your physical needs. Try your best to eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, get some rest and physical activity. Do things for your mental health too. Consider getting involved in an activity that distracts you or lifts your spirits. It’s also perfectly okay (and healthy even) to have fun and laugh. Many people are afraid that laughing is a discredit to the deceased, but it’s actually a caring way to honor their memory.

Do Things That Are Healing

Caring for yourself in a healthy way is not only good for you. It also shows respect for the person you’re grieving. Along with basic self-care, try some of these ideas that are healing for you and that also honor your loved one’s memory.

These little things may sound simple, but they are powerful. Loss hits you emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and self-care is important for coping. Taking these small actions will not only help you heal, but they will honor your loss and help you carve a path forward.

Photo credit: Pexels

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