Grieving the death of a loved one is one of life’s most painful experiences. The feelings of sadness, numbness, and emptiness can be intense and overwhelming. Grief can also cause physical problems, such as insomnia and loss of appetite. Neglecting your health during this time may make your grieving process longer and lead to depression or illness. Presented below by Camille Johnson, here are five tips to help you nurture your health as you grieve.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Take time to be kind to yourself. Ease your anxiety through exercise or relaxation activities, such as yoga, meditation, prayer, and deep breathing exercises. Listen to music that you enjoy; relaxing music (by Michael Mucklow) can help you clear your mind and de-stress for a while. Spending time outside in nature can soothe your emotions. Perhaps take a walk through a forest or even just a stroll around a block in your neighborhood. The routine of doing hobbies or other interests you have always enjoyed can also bring you comfort and give you a sense of normality. Finally, avoid turning to self-destructive coping methods such as drugs or alcohol to numb your pain, as this could lead to addiction.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
Bereavement causes additional stress on your body, so eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is essential to give your body the nutrition it needs. Make it a daily goal to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables along with lean sources of protein, such as salmon, beans, and nuts. Stay hydrated with plenty of water and tea or coffee. If your appetite is down at meals, aim to eat small portions of food several times during the day.
3. Deal With Your Insomnia
Unfortunately, insomnia is a common reaction to grief. However, a lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to do simple tasks, cause you to become depressed, and negatively affect your immune system. Sleep experts recommend following these tips to handle your insomnia:
Put comfortable bedding on your bed
Add relaxing aromatherapy to your bedroom
Power down electronic devices in the evening
Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks after 3 p.m.
Get a late day massage
4. Stay Socially Connected
During a time of loss, you may be tempted to isolate yourself from other people and build emotional walls as protection from further pain. However, you should avoid being alone for long periods as you grieve. The danger of isolation increases if you work from home. Make it a goal to stay in regular contact with your co-workers, keep your work hours limited to designated hours and interact with other people every day. Consider joining a bereavement support group to get encouragement from others who understand what you are going through.
5. Plan a Future Celebration of Life
As you work through your grief, it can be healing to plan a celebration of life for loved ones that fit their personality. Such an event lets you keep their spirit alive in a heartfelt way and honor the life they lived. It also offers you an opportunity to say goodbye. You will know when the time is right, whether that’s after a few months or even years after your loss.
Following these five tips can help you take care of yourself as you navigate your grief. Each step can provide you with comfort during this difficult time in your life.