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Taking Care of Yourself in Grief

Coping with losing someone or something you hold dear is one of the hardest challenges in life. Usually, the pain is overpowering. You may deal with all kinds of complex and unanticipated emotions, from shock to anger to deep, lingering sadness. The experience can also damage your physical health, making it a struggle to think straight or to even eat or sleep.

Certainly, all of these are normal reactions. But even as there are no right or wrong ways of grieving, there is an approach that makes the whole process easier.

Self-care

Grieving gives you all the more reason to take care of yourself. The stress of this experience can easily exhaust your physical and emotional strength. That’s why you need to look after your physical and emotional needs as you go through this difficult time.

Acceptance

You can try to repress your grief, but not for all time. Confronting your pain is critical to healing. Shunning your feelings of sadness and loss only extends the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also cause complications like depression, substance abuse, and health issues.

Tangible or Creative Expression

Your grief becomes easier to process when you express it in some creative or tangible form. For instance, write about it in your journal. If you lost a loved one, write a letter saying all that you wanted to say but never got to; create a scrapbook or photo album of the person’s life; or join a cause or organization that your loved one was part of.

Physical Health

Take note that the mind and body are connected. Processing your emotions will become easier if you are physically healthy. You can fight stress and fatigue by sleeping, eating and exercising right. Avoid alcohol and drugs, which tend to numb your or lift your mood superficially.

Hobbies and Interests

There’s comfort in going back to your old routine, doing all the things you used to do and enjoying them again. Connecting with other people always works to lessen the pain. However, don’t let anyone, including yourself, force you into feeling this or that. Your grief is a being on its own, and no one can tell you when you need to move on or let go. Don’t be scared of being embarrassed or judged by own feelings. You can cry or not cry, be angry or you can even smile and laugh at tiny moments of joy.

Preparation

While resolving your grief and pain, be ready for anniversaries, holidays and other events that can trigger a return of feelings and memories. Most importantly, remember that this is completely normal. Again, face the pain and deal with it, but not without expressing it, whether verbally or otherwise.
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