Why you need self care when grieving

There’s not much we can do do shield ourselves from it, all of us will experience moments of grief in our lives that will shake us to the core.  Most of these moments will have such a profound impact on us that you are are thrown off kilter, and even the best of us manage to lose sight of our goals. Yet, it is important to remember to take time for self care when grieving, even if it looks a little different.

If you’re going through a period of grief, know that you are not alone.  While I may not know your exact struggle, there are many out there who have been in similar situations. Our lives often have more similarities than differences.  

Some things forever change who you are.

There can be many types of grief, from losing a relationship to the death of a loved one.  The end of a relationship can be life altering and completely devastating. Having a loved one tragically taken from you is earth shattering.  These, of course, are just 2 examples of grief you may be dealing with. No matter what you’re going through, this post will be for you. 

As I am writing this, my family is dealing with an extremely hard loss. My husbands 8 year old niece has just lost her battle with cancer after putting up an extremely hard fight.  This loss is one of those earth shattering losses.  A child should never have to fight like she did.  She should be enjoying the start of a new school year, playing with toys, and starting to dream up her Halloween costume.  

 I pray that your family never has to experience this pain. A parent should never have to bury a child, and a child’s funeral is one of the hardest to ever attend. Pediatric cancer research is severely underfunded, but that is a different article. 

Please know, that this list comes from going through the motions following this loss, and recalling other losses that have changed who I am as a person. As we grow and lose people who make a profound impact on us, we learn to cope and deal with the immense grief, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get wrapped up in trying to remember to breathe through the pain and forget about other important issues.  

Allow yourself to feel the emotions

Cry when you feel like crying, yell & scream, pray and be silent. Just don’t hold back from feeling these emotions.  They are normal. They are what makes you human. The things you’re feeling are fine, and it’s important to feel them a let them out.  

I write this as truth, but also as a reminder to myself as I work through all these feelings.  It can be so tempting to stop yourself from crying. From putting on a mask and walking through life as if nothing is wrong, to locking yourself in a room. Give yourself the grace to be emotional and to fully feel those emotions. If you need to cry, allow yourself to cry it out.

I am an emotional person, I can’t deal with seeing someone else upset.  If you’re crying, I’m going to cry with you.  That being said, if I’m just sitting here and talking to someone about what is going on in my life, I will fight off those emotions because I have a need to be the strong one.  I don’t want to break down because my life has gone to shit.  I would much rather leave the room, go by myself and just let it all out.

This generally means that I distract myself by cleaning or doing anything and everything I can to keep busy and not have to feel my strong feelings.  I will hold it all in until I hear a sad song, see a sad commercial or video, or even watch a movie with a sad scene.  Then I’m a giant blubbering mess. 

The fallacy of keeping busy

So many people will tell you to just keep busy to pass time and get through it. I’m guilty of this too. I’ve mentioned above how I will hide from my emotions to not be the first to break down.

The fact of the matter is though, that eventually, keeping everything bottled up always fails. The dam will burst and you will have a giant breakdown. Giving yourself the grace to sit and feel those real human emotions will help you keep moving forward, so long as you don’t sit and wallow in the deepest parts of your grief. 

Take a few minutes and allow yourself to cry, to scream, or to pray. Feel your emotions and deal with the grief you are experiencing.  All of the emotions you’re feeling are completely normal, but in order to start picking up the pieces you need to go through the stages of grief.  This means not fighting it and stopping yourself from going through the motions.  

Sometimes the best thing you can do, is be still. 

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Ideas for self care when grieving

  • Take a long hot shower 
  • Take a bath with a good bath bomb
  • Use a good body scrub to pamper yourself
  • Read a book
  • Watch something truly funny that makes you laugh hard
  • Continue your diet and exercise routine
  • Eat- This can be a struggle for some people
  • Stay away from the bad foods- If you’re an emotional eater
  • Take a long walk
  • Sit in nature and pray or meditate
  • Light a candle or use aromatherapy 
  • Journal your feelings
  • Work on a hobby
  • Organize your pictures, scrapbook, reminisce about the person you lost
  • Don’t turn down help from family or friends
  • Give yourself the grace to have fun
  • Buy yourself something nice- a necklace or keychain to remember the person possibly
  • Go get your hair, nails or toes done professionally
  • Plant a memorial tree for the person you lost
  • Take a vacation, even if it’s just overnight somewhere
  • Pray or meditate

Always remember

There is no wrong way to grieve, as long as you allow yourself the grace to grieve.  

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