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Honoring Your Loss, Grief Management, and the Importance of Self-Care

Losing someone you love can bring on a wide range of emotions.  Some days you may feel you can barely breathe, and other days you may not even feel like it’s real.  It’s important to find ways to manage your grief.  Here are some strategies to help you through the process.

Grief is individual.  Everyone grieves differently.  According to Psychology Today, we all experience four basic aspects of grief, but they arise at different times and in different forms in accordance with circumstances.  Those aspects include:

  • Separation distress.  This is a murky conglomeration of bad feelings, like anxiety, pain, sadness, despair, shame, and anger.
  • Traumatic distress and feelings of shock and unbelief. 
  • Regrets, guilt, and attrition.
  • Isolation and social withdrawal.

Honor your loved one.  One of the most healing things you can do is to find a way to honor the memory of your loved one.  You may not be able to move forward from your loss until you honor your loved one in a way that feels right to you.  For some, this may be a simple act of laying a rose at a graveside.  For others, a special service celebrating the loved one’s life is needed to say goodbye. 

Contemplate what will best express what you are feeling.  Do you want to honor your loved one through a charitable act?  Your loved one’s favorite charity may be the right outlet.  Would blogging about your loss bring closure?  Maybe journaling or sharing notes in a few posts will be right for you.  Is there a special place you shared together you want to revisit and share together again in your heart?  Maybe that restaurant booth where you enjoyed Saturday-morning breakfasts should be your destination. You could even honor your loved one with a memorial garden in your backyard. If you decide on a memorial garden, it may be best to hire a professional landscapers for the job; in Martinez, CA, you’ll likely spend $3,934 – $14,300 for these services.

Self-care.  Now is not the time to neglect yourself.  Losing someone you love is mentally and physically exhausting, and as some professionals point out, it’s vital to engage in self-care while grieving.  Ensure you are resting enough, eating properly, and spending some time connecting with others.  Don’t become isolated, and continue to engage in healthy activities that promote your well-being. If you’re struggling with finding ways to make self-care part of your lifestyle, here are some ideas:

  • Make notes on small pieces of paper with self-care activities that bring you peace and relaxation.  Opt for items that take 20 minutes or less.  Each note could include suggestions such as playing music you enjoy, walking in the fresh air, or playing with your dog.  Put them in a jar and select one every day to do.
  • Do some journaling, expressing your feelings and restoring positive energy.  This could be a love letter to yourself or a list of encouraging words. 
  • Talk with someone you love.  Connecting with someone you care about is an opportunity to share how things are going.
  • Rest.  Take a nap or spend some time lounging.  Grief is taxing, so find some time for recuperating.
  • Bake something delicious.  Make cookies, muffins, or another indulgence, then share it with friends, neighbors or your coworkers.
  • Get a massage. A massage can help you relax and relieve stress (the average cost of a 60-minute massage is $60).

Loss, honor, and self-care.  When you’ve lost someone you love, your emotional experience is a mixed and personal journey.  Find a way to honor your loved one’s life, and engage in a self-care program.  Eventually things will get better, and with these basic steps, you can begin to heal.

Lucille Rosetti 💚

lucy@thebereaved.orgThe Bereaved

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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