Self-Care and the Grief Process
By: Tayler Terrell, Masters Level Intern
Grief is one of those topics that can be very difficult to discuss. Take a moment to pause and think about what you feel just by hearing or reading the word “GRIEF”. There’s a feeling, a sensation, or some indicator that possibly feels a little unsettling, uncomfortable, or maybe even concerning. It’s essential to know that grief can present as many varying emotions. We don’t know how grief will impact us personally until we go through it and it might look much different than how we imagined it to look. Common grief emotions might include sadness, feelings of anger or frustration, tearfulness, and even guilt. It’s often very difficult to put into words how you feel when you experience grief emotions. In trying to gain an understanding of dealing with our grief process, we might often compare our version of grief processing to another person’s version of grief processing. Grief is not intended to look the same for everyone. It’s also important to recognize that no two grief processes are alike because they are pertinent to one crucial factor, who you are as an individual. All emotions, thoughts, and feelings are valid because it is your grief process. While it may be difficult to comprehend, it’s true that at some point in our lives we will experience loss. How we deal with that loss and take care of ourselves is key to our healing.
Grief Can Impact our Wellbeing
In addition to affecting our thoughts and feelings, grief can also affect our physical bodies. Common physical symptoms of grief that might occur include headaches, dry mouth, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Since we recognize that grief has an impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing, learning the best method of coping for you is helpful. It should be stressed that grief is a natural response to experiencing a loss and through grief processing, we allow ourselves to slowly build on the opportunity to heal.
Incorporate Moments of Self-Care
Grief is not intentional and therefore the response to embracing grief processing doesn’t come with a manual or guide. However, within these moments of grief how we nurture ourselves during a difficult time can help us to get through the grief and begin to heal. Acknowledge the period in which you are processing grief and allow yourself to truly feel during this time. Try to incorporate healthy coping mechanisms during this time if you can. Suggestions for things that you could do on your own to nurture yourself during this process are taking time for yourself, exercising, meditating, journaling, eating healthier foods and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. In the event solo activities are not of interest you could attend a grief group to interact with those who are also going through the grief process. Grief journals and meditations that center around emotions and dealing with grief are excellent tools to use for grief processing.
Grief Processing Affirmations
Grief is temporary.
I will allow myself time to heal.
How I feel in my grief process is normal.
I am not alone.
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