Recently I came across the website www.whatsyourgrief.com. I was looking for something that might be a daily practice or at least some ideas on how to care for myself. When I stumbled upon this website and a post they had done on self-care ideas it was just what I was looking for; simple, practical ideas that could be weeded through and put into practice with ease.
The weeks leading up to this search have been full of turmoil, grief, and unbearable sadness. I was feeling the weight of the world closing in on me and I found myself waking with the gasping of breath, willing my lungs to fill and expand.
My life, and yours can become overwhelming we allow ourselves to say 'yes' to those around us because it feels like the right thing to do, we forget that we can ask for help, and we push aside any self-care time for ourselves and we fill that time with caring for others. I think part of that is the nature of being a woman, mom, daughter, and friend. I also believe that it is hard, especially when we are grieving to feel worthy of taking care of ourselves. We allow shame and sadness to rule our days and because we are living in the fog that accompanies grief, it feels like a helpless and hopeless existence.
Through the last decade of living with the grief that has become my constant companion. I have found that during the times when I feel the fog settling in it is important for me to find a way to fill myself up with love, care, and understanding. In doing so the fog will lift and I will move forward slowly refilling myself with the fundamentals of self-love and care. Light will creep back in and laughter will escape from my lips, the weight of grief will be eased off of my shoulders.
I encourage all of you who have found yourself in the midst of grief to take the time to look over the ideas from www.whatsyourgrief.com and pick one or two that you can put into practice today to start filling yourself back up with love.
...because we all know we could all use a little more love.
Self-Care Ideas for Grievers
1. Take a walk: Hike in the woods, on a local nature trail, or around the neighborhood. The exercise will do you good and you never know what you’ll see or who you’ll meet.
4. Read: A 2009 study showed that it took participants only six minutes to relax once they started reading. For the purposes of stress relief, we suggest you forgo info heavy texts for a good novel, spiritual/religious reads, or self-help books.
6. Get a few minutes of fresh air and sunlight.
8. Engage in a game or activity that requires focus: I just completed a 1000 piece puzzle so I must warn you, while it was incredibly soothing I also forgot to do laundry, feed my children, or change out of my sweatpants until it’s completion four days later. For something a little less time consuming, try your paper’s daily Crossword or Sudoku.
11. Practice kindness.
12. Practice gratitude.
13. Plan a night out with a friends: Go to your favorite restaurant, see a show, or attend a sporting event.
14. Establish a better work/life balance: Here’s how to stop work overload with a few simple boundaries.
15. Listen to your favorite music playlist: Music can have a positive impact on both our physical and emotional health, from reducing the perceived intensity of pain to relieving symptoms of depression.
16. Go somewhere that makes you feel at ease: My spot is Barnes and Noble.
17. Spring clean: Here’s advice on selling and donating items in your ‘give away’ pile.
19. Look through old photographs.
20. Have one-on-one time with your children (that means one child at a time).
21. Make out: Apparently kissing boosts immunity, burns calories, and relaxes you. Yeah!
22. Okay so ‘no’ to making out. Why don’t you try cuddling instead?: Cuddling reduces stress and makes you feel happy! Equal opportunity cuddlers can snuggle up with a mate, child, or pup.
23. See a movie: My favorite grief relief activity.
27. Plan a weekend getaway.
28. Adopt a pet.
29. Treat yourself to a day of relaxation: Not a fan of the spa? Relax at home.
30. Try a new hobby:
31. Make your annual doctors and dentist appointments (I know groan, but good health is a part of good self-care).
32. Cross something off of your bucket list: Don’t have a bucket list? Create one here.
33. Get into an exercise routine: I don’t need to espouse the benefits of exercise because you already know.
35. Be creative.
36. Join a support group: Among other benefits, support groups can help you gain a sense of empowerment and feel less lonely.
37. Seek online grief support (the fact that you’re here means you’re on the right track).
40. Get on the floor and play with your kids (or pet).
41. Find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts.
42. Better yet, try a warm shower or a bubble bath.
44. Visit your place of worship and spend time in prayer.
45. Join a club or group of any kind: There is benefit in joining any group that gathers around something you like – camera clubs, choirs, widower happy hours, etc.
46. Volunteer your time.
47. Don’t let things hang over your head: Either do them or choose to not let not getting them done stress you out.
48. Sing at the top of your lungs: Research has shown that singing is like a tranquilizer that both soothes your nerves and makes you feel happy.
49. Or I guess you could just dance with reckless abandon.
50. Open your windows.
51. Allow yourself a day of unapologetic sulking.
52. Retail Therapy!!! Is it real?? Pssh…who cares? Time Magazine says it is, though.
53. Sttttrrreeeetttccchhhh: Here’s a guide to 10 basic stretches.
55. Spend time in a place where you feel close to your deceased loved one(s).
56. Play a sport: Play by yourself or join an adult sports league.
57. Take a yoga class.
59. Phone an old friend.
60. Throw your plans out the window and spend a few days schedule-free.
62. Go for a drive.
63. Limit the time you spend on the Internet and Social Media.