3 Ways to Care for Yourself After a Loss

When we are grieving a loss, whether it be recent or long ago, our entire world seems to turn upside down and we don’t know where to turn for a sense of security and comfort. Often times, we may rely on unhealthy outlets to fill the void we are feeling, the lump in out throats, the pain in our stomachs. The most important thing we can do for ourselves after a loss is to focus on self-care. We must take care of ourselves first in order to go out into the world and care for others. In this post, we will discuss 3 ways to practice self-care following a loss.

Physical Self-Care

  • Build a Daily Routine – an effective routine can help promote better mental, physical, and emotional health. The absence of routine can often lead to stress and feelings of anxiety or depression. Try these physical self-care activities:
    • Meditating
    • Walking in nature
    • Playing a sport
  • Make time for Rest – when you start prioritizing your sleep, it will help your autonomic nervous, hormone, and immune systems stay balanced. Adults who sleep an average of 7 or more hours every night experience increased energy and strength, so you can perform at your highest level. Try taking these steps to help you focus on rest:
    • Listen to your body when it’s tired
    • Get a good night’s sleep
    • Lay down and relax for 20 minutes at a time
  • Focus on your Nutrition – your food choices have a significant impact on your energy levels, digestion and overall health. Keeping a balanced diet and using food as fuel will help prevent diet-related illness or disease. Consuming important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients may also help you live longer. Combining lean protein and fiber at every meal will allow you to stay fuller, longer. Drink more water to battle dehydration and feelings of fatigue. Here are some more steps help you focus on your nutrition:
    • Balanced diet
    • Leveraging food as fuel
    • Increase water intake
  • Emotional Self-Care
    • Become Aware – awareness is the first step in emotional self-care. Becoming aware of how you feel in a particular moment can assist in identifying and expressing those feelings. Grief is full of emotion, so practicing awareness is important. When noticing how you feel, be mindful not to judge yourself or be hard on yourself. Don’t label anything as ‘good or bad’ or ‘right or wrong’. Just notice and become aware.
      • Check in with yourself several times a day
      • How are you feeling?
      • Mindfulness
    • Take Action – once you become aware of your feelings, find a healthy outlet for expressing them. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor to help you process your emotions either on a regular basis or sporadically. Your counselor may recommend practicing breathing exercises or visualization to help shift your focus and create space for your thoughts. Listen to your inner voice. Writing in a journal is another way to process and keep record of your feelings.
      • Express your feelings with a counselor or trusted friend
      • Breathing techniques/Visualization
      • Writing in a journal
    • Be Intentional – when being intentional or focusing your awareness, you choose to make decisions based on what is important to you. You live more purposefully, and you’ll think things through more carefully. Take note of what makes you feel fulfilled.
      • Shift your focus to the things, activities and people that make your life full.
    • Social Self-Care
      • Meaningful Relationships – humans are social beings. We have an innate need for belonging, connection, and interaction with others. Social connection has been proven to make people feel happier, healthier, more resilient, and less anxious and depressed. Although being around others is important in social self-care, you’ll want to find balance between social time and alone time. Be mindful in that too much socializing can drain your energy levels, leaving you with little to no time for yourself.
        • Make time for supportive relationships
        • Balance times of solitude with socializing
      • Connect with the Community – getting out of the house and doing activities with other people can give you new perspective. Interacting with different minds can produce diverse ideas. Below are some ideas of how to get involved in your community:
        • Get involved with local clubs, organization, lessons or drop-in activities.
        • Volunteer to help with a charity event or fundraiser.
        • Socialize with neighbors, grocery store clerk, doctor’s assistant, etc.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not think that you need to change your lifestyle all at once. Try one thing at a time and make a plan to help you stay focused. Any improvement is improvement. Having an accountability buddy is another way to stay on top of things. Your grief journey is unique, and only you will know what feels right for you. Trust your inner voice and be patient with yourself during this time.


Written by Britta Holloway

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