06 Jul How to look after yourself when a loved one passes
I know that this year has been particularly tough on everyone. But sadly for some, that is exacerbated by losing someone close. So, I thought now was a good time to write a blog about how to look after yourself when a loved one passes. Of course, it is relevant to any time when a loved one passes.
Losing a loved one can make you lost and bereft so I hope I can help you to find some comfort in this difficult time.
Take some time.
It might feel like the best way to deal with how you feel after losing a loved one is to keep active, stay busy and to carry on as normal. Whilst maintaining a routine can help with feeling low, you might find you end up burning out later down the line. It might be hard to come to terms with how you feel but by taking a break you will give your some time to take care of yourself and process what has happened.
During a time of low mood and heightened emotions, you are susceptible to illness. Try to stay nourished. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. It might sound like this has no relevance to grief at all, but it is important to look after your physical health as well as your mental health. If you are not feeling up to cooking, try to have some quick and healthy snacks around to keep you going. Sometimes grief can dampen your appetite so try having small quick and easy snacks or meals. These will at least provide some sustenance and this will help you to stay as well as possible.
I also advise getting a daily dose of fresh air whether it’s a brisk walk around the block or a long stroll in a local beauty spot. The bite of the salty sea air and views of the rolling waves can be very therapeutic as can a leisurely walk through fields or woods. Getting some fresh air is a great way to regain some clarity when you start to feel overwhelmed.
You might feel overwhelmed by a large mix of emotions. That’s ok. Allow yourself to feel every emotion. If you are sad let yourself cry, it will relieve a lot of tension. And if you are happy don’t feel guilty about laughing or having fun. Give yourself a break and don’t put pressure on yourself to put on a brave face. If you want to spend some time alone or if you want to see a friend, then just do those things, and don’t feel like you have to conform to any expectations.
Be kind to yourself.
There is no better time to indulge yourself in some of your favourite pastimes. Slip into a luxurious warm bath. Listen to some relaxing music, no matter what time of day it is. Listen to some songs that remind you of times with your loved one If you just want some background noise, try some calm classical music. Stick on your favourite childhood film and get under a blanket . Get out into the garden to pull some weeds, or plant some seeds. Buy the cake you love and savour each delicious mouthful. Whatever form of self-care you choose, remember that you deserve these moments. YOU are your main priority at this time.
Lastly, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Many people find it hard to sleep but it is important to try and get some rest. Lack of sleep will make you feel worse. If you are struggling to sleep practice simple techniques which promote healthy sleeping habits. Reduce screen time before bed. Drink a warm milky drink. Avoid alcohol. Keep the lights low and try taking a relaxing bath or shower. Read or listen to a calming podcast. Hopefully, you will drift off comfortably. If your mind is in overdrive, why not try some simple meditation techniques or some basic yoga to help you unwind.
Grief and sadness are emotions that can revisit us at any time after losing a loved one. By acknowledging how we feel and accepting them as valid emotions we can practice self-care without letting them overpower us.
There can be a point at which feelings can become overwhelming. If you find you start to feel unable to cope with how you feel, then talk to someone you trust or seek professional grief counselling.