If you’ve suffered a loss, you may be experiencing stress, a feeling of overwhelm, and acute and constant sadness. You may even experience physical symptoms such as a lack of energy and increased susceptibility to illness. Even though you may feel that there is no end in sight to your grief, there are steps you can take to make the grieving process healthier and keep your body and mind in check during this season of life:
Take Care of Your Body
Focus on Sleep
Whether you’ve lost a loved one or you’ve lost your job, you may be experiencing difficulty sleeping or even insomnia. Your questions about the past and your worries about the future may be keeping you up at night, unable to put your mind to rest. But getting at least seven hours of sleep is important both for your mental and physical wellbeing.
So set up a bedtime routine, and do what helps you relax and makes you feel better: reading, watching a fun movie, and listening to music or to an entertaining podcast. Try a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime, and see if a white noise machine can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Keep Eating Healthy
When they go through grief, some people experience a loss of appetite and end up barely eating, whereas others start overindulging in unhealthy fare. But food contains the fuel our bodies need to stay healthy, so try to recognize the difference between emotional and physical hunger, strive to eat your meals at regular intervals, and stay away from highly processed foods, sugary snacks, and caffeine-laden sodas.
And if you don’t really have an appetite for anything as you go through the grieving process, try drinking veggie- and fruit-packed smoothies and protein shakes to keep up your strength.
Take Care of Your Mind
Write Down Your Thoughts
For some, journaling helps clarify their emotions, which is a healthy way to cope with loss and grief. By laying down all your heavy thoughts and feelings on paper, you’ll be better able to get a clearer picture of what you’re going through, which in turn may help alleviate some of your distress. By being honest and open in your writing, you will be able to answer questions about the effects that loss had on you, what is most distressing about it, and those discoveries can lead you to find healthy ways to cope. Journaling is a wonderful meditation tool that will help you get in touch with your inner self, help you verbalize and define your goals, and help you work through the grieving process.
Recognize Your Triggers
After the loss of a loved one, certain things will set off your grief response. A birthday or a special event, a specific scent, or a favorite song can be a trigger for your grief, and you may start experiencing anger, sadness, anxiety, or loneliness all over again.
Although there is no way to eliminate all triggers from your life, you can come up with ways to be better prepared for them: find a special place in your home to rest and relax, or partake in a favorite activity to take your mind off things for a while. If you want to be alone to deal with your feelings, plan ahead on special anniversary dates or other triggering occasions, and let your family and friends know in advance so they can help you avoid painful or difficult situations.
Grief is inevitable in the course of one’s life and trying to mask it, push it aside or suppress it could lead to emotional and physical issues. Instead, try healthy ways to cope with your loss, and take time for self-care and self-discovery.