Self-Care is essential in the aftermath of traumatic loss, yet it is something that can slip easily into the background. From sleep and exercise to nourishment and staying hydrated, the things that made sense before tragedy are things it’s difficult to care much about afterward. Maybe it is ironic that something as simple as brushing your teeth has a direct effect on both your physical health and your emotional survival, but it’s true.
The human body is made up of connected systems, all of which need basic care. The good news is the same things that help one of those systems are, in general, good for them all.
When everything else in your life feels overwhelming, taking good care of yourself is something you can control, even if you have additional medical conditions to manage. Notice I didn't say it was easy, and I know. Need examples? Doubling as a coping strategy, taking a short walk provides exercise, increased oxygen, and a change of scenery, all things that combat the physical and mental stress of grieving. Emotional, social, and spiritual health are important, too, and benefit from thoughtful planning that gives the mind something positive on which to focus.
Start by drinking water throughout the day. Choose a healthy meal or experiment with a new recipe. If you keep a journal, use it for planning and to record how your body responds, even if you can take only small amounts at first. Try soups. Hot tea and toast can be a comforting way to start the day. Avoid the costly and temporary comfort of alcohol and sugar. Work closely with your doctor.
Sleep routines improve the quality of rest your body receives, but grief is exhausting. Nap when you need to, if you can. Though the wounds of loss are mostly invisible, they are as real as any other. They need intensive care. With time, support, and effort, healing is possible.
I'm am not a doctor or nutritionist. These are just things that helped and continue to help me. Each of us is different. Find what works for you, and if you would like to share those things, leave a comment. Thanks.
Way for Hope
My name is Jan McDaniel. I speak grief. I also speak peace and healing. I started A Way for Hope blog and website to house projects I create that might help others who are grieving. The blog has expanded to include guest posts by my dear friends and fellow survivors who wanted to speak hope for others, too.
We understand how difficult losing someone you love is. We know how much it means to hear from others further along on this journey and how it is possible to live a life of happiness and joy even while still remembering and honoring those we love.
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Helping children grieve
Formula for healing
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