Why and How to Care for Yourself when Grieving
Why Care for Yourself when Grieving?
In a nutshell, taking care of yourself when grieving is crucial to your safety, health and well being. In this busy world, taking time to grieve is often discounted with “I don’t have time for that” or “I can’t afford that luxury”. The truth is you can’t afford not to, not if you value yourself.
Grief has a way of catching up with you sooner or later. If you don’t do the work when it’s in front of you, it compounds with the next loss and so on. In the long run, it’s better to feel your grief and move through it than trying to avoid it by any manner or number of distractions.
In the aftermath of a significant loss or trauma, grief impacts on your capacity to function normally for a while. Broadly speaking:
- Grief compromises the immune system making you more prone to aches and pains, infection and illness
- Grief compromises your cognitive faculties so the capacity to think clearly, to remember, make decisions and make sense of things is impaired
- While not fully present in your mind and body, you are more clumsy, prone to accidents and errors of judgement.
With these factors in play, you are at greater risk of harm to yourself and others in the home, the workplace and on the roads.
On top of that, the personal task of grieving itself is hard work and often underestimated. I frequently find people are surprised by the extent and depth of grief’s impact. That impact can be physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Often unseen and unacknowledged by the outside world, grief is largely an internal job demanding your attention, time and energy.
Listen to it, take care of yourself, learn from it, grow through it.
Grief reaches the depths of our humanness – Claire Laurenson
How to Care for Yourself when Grieving
S l o w d o w n
Expect less of yourself.
It is unrealistic to expect you will function at ‘normal’ capacity for a while.
Reduce your workload in the home and/or workplace, do only what’s necessary.
Be kind and gentle on yourself; treat yourself as you would your child or best friend.
Get grounded in your body; tune into your senses.
Keep it simple:
- adequate sleep and nourishment of body, mind and soul
- balance rest with mild activity to release the emotions in your body
- fresh air and sunlight
Be around those who love you and accept you as you are.
Do less and ‘be’ more.
© Claire Laurenson 2017
This blog is the author’s viewpoint and is not intended to replace professional medical advice.