Grief and Self Care

Grief is a journey of adjusting one’s life to the absence of a person.  Those who have walked the path of grief and found their path to hope and healing are often the best support for others.  In order to support and offer strength for others, we must first find strength for ourselves.

  • SEEK AND ACCEPT SUPPORT.  If you lack support, make finding it your first goal.  Start with family, friends or clergy, or call a local hospice office or your EAP for advice.
  • FIND MODELS.  You may need evidence that survival and growth are possible.  Seek out others who can help you find hope.  Books and support groups may be good choices.
  • LEARN ABOUT GRIEF.  Many a person who has learned about grief has stated, “I realize I’m not crazy, I’m grieving.”  Understanding grief can help with the journey.
  • ACCEPT YOUR GRIEF.  Time alone does not heal grief.  Grief must be accepted and dealt with as a natural process.
  • ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS.  Grief produces many feelings, some very intense.  Emotional pain signifies the value of the person in your life.  It also helps you be real with yourself and others.
  • PACE YOURSELF.  Grief takes energy.  You may tire easily.  A slower pace alternated with periods of diversion and mild exercise may help the healing process.  Include good nutrition in the pattern of each day.
  • INVOLVE YOURSELF IN WORK OR MEANINGFUL ACTIVITY.  It can help you to maintain direction, control, and purpose in life.
  • EXPRESS IT.  Without expression, grief can leave you frozen and stoic.  Find someone who can listen to your story, over and over.  You may also want to express it privately through music, art, or journals.
  • DON’T BE AFRAID TO HAVE FUN.  Laughter is good medicine.  Allow yourself opportunities for diversion and refreshment.  Laughter and fun does not minimize the value of the deceased.
  • RE-DISCOVER HOPE.  Faith is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go on in the face of fear.  The healing process is a journey.