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March 22, 2021
Grief is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through and it changes every aspect of the landscape of life. Navigating so much upheaval at once can take a huge toll on your body and soul. It is so normal to struggle during this season.
It can also be tempting to try to avoid the grieving process. After my own miscarriage, I tried hard to outrun my grief with distractions. I worked long hours, exercised myself into exhaustion, and tried to fill my mind with anything but my grief. But as grief always seems to do, my sadness over my loss snuck out in very strange and unexpected ways. Looking back, I often wish I had treated myself with my love and compassion.
Because no matter how scary it is, avoiding the mourning process won’t help. Eventually, the grief over your loss will catch up with you. So if this is you right now, this is my gentle reminder that you don’t have to be tough. Sometimes letting yourself feel the waves of grief is, in fact, the more difficult path in the short term. And above all else, be patient with yourself. You are allowed to grieve and take the time you need to restore your soul. Below are some ideas on how to
One of the most important things you can do is give yourself the time and space to grieve. It is important to remember that grief is not on a timeline. It is normal for your grief to ebb and flow unexpectedly, and it is ok for you to take quiet time to process your loss at any moment you need. Try to give yourself the time and space to allow your heart to grieve.
Oftentimes, it can feel very helpful to talk to a professional or to caring people in your life. Grief is very much a process, and having a safe space to verbally express your feelings can make a huge difference.
It is very normal to struggle to take care of everyday life tasks after a loss. And even if you are a person who struggles to ask for help (like me!), letting your support system take care of you and your home can be very helpful. Your family and friends might offer to bring you meals, cut your grass, help out around your home, or care for your kids – let them.
Margo Rose, a fitness trainer who specializes in managing loss says, “Sleep is one of the best medical ‘treatments’ available, especially for grief and shock.” Rose is the author of Body Aware Grieving: A Fitness Trainer’s Guide to Caring for Your Health During Sad Times.
“It is very common for people to want to sleep much more than they are used to while going through an upsetting time. This natural tendency is generally worth giving in to without feeling guilty,” Rose explains. “However, another typical response to stress can be the exact opposite: difficulty falling and staying asleep. Being sleep deprived can impair all our senses, especially the abilities to think clearly and stabilize our moods.” A healthy sleep routine can be a healthy pattern to help you cope with your loss.
It is really normal to want to avoid thinking about your loss in the aftermath. Oftentimes what you have experienced is traumatic, so it is normal to want to avoid it. But, spending time reflecting on what you have been through can bring healing and help you make sense of your life after loss.
After loss, it’s easy to feel unmotivated to do much of anything, cooking included. It can be tempting to eat comfort foods and sugar as a way to soothe yourself. If possible, healthy foods can aid your body in getting a healthy routine for sleep and wellbeing.
The endorphins released during physical movement can aid your wellbeing after loss. Moving your body can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be something as simple as a walk around your neighborhood, or as involved as a class for physical health. Both are great ways to relieve stress and relax.
Meditation is another wonderful way to take care of yourself after loss. There are some great apps out there that can guide you in a meditation practice – we love the Calm app!
Spending time with friends who care can be another hugely beneficial way to spend time after loss. Whether it is coffee, a quiet visit in your home, or dinner with friends, it can be good for your soul to be with safe friends who can help you process your loss.
And lastly, although it can be tempting to withdraw, gently attending the activities that you love can be hugely beneficial. You don’t have to overdo it, but resuming some of your favorite pastimes – whether that is crafting, cooking, creating art, taking walks, or exercise – can help care for your soul and body after loss.
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