Grief can be a difficult emotion to try and cope with, but it’ll affect all of us at least once in our lives; some worse than others. If you lose someone close to you and you don’t allow yourself the time and space to come to terms with it, then it can have a detrimental effect on both your health and wellbeing. But beyond the initial shock of loss comes a lot of stress and responsibility, like organising a funeral and sorting out an estate, it can be easy to let your self-care slip. To avoid that from happening, here are seven things you can do to try and keep healthy while dealing with grief.
- Try and keep up with your routine
Easier said than done, but if you can do your best to stick to your regular routine where possible, your body will thank you for it. It’s dealing with enough as it is, so get up and go to bed at your normal time, get showered and eat when you normally eat.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep and grief do not go well together. Not everyone realises just how important a decent night’s sleep is for our health. Your mind will be wandering all over the place, but you’ve got to do your best to get enough rest and allow your body and mind to recuperate. Relax with a warm bath before you go to bed or a cup of chamomile tea to help you switch off.
- Eat as well as you can
Many of us can admit to being emotional eaters, which can especially be the case when we’re dealing with the loss of a loved one. Maybe you’re eating more than you should and keep reaching for the chocolate for emotional support? Or perhaps you’ve not got the energy or desire to cook so skip meals, or revert to takeaways regularly? Stop and take heed, you really need to make better choices to stay healthy.
- Accept help from others
If you are struggling to keep up with your routine or your eating habits, then always accept the help of close friends and family around you. Let them pop round and do a spot of housework for you, let them bring you some ready-prepped meals to just stick in the oven and let them be a shoulder to cry on whenever you need to talk.
- Find a hobby that distracts you
If you keep finding yourself getting lost in your thoughts and heading into a downward spiral with your grief, then do something about it to make you feel better. Read a book, start painting, make something or do some exercise. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying yourself from time to time.
- Avoid turning to alcohol and drugs
As tempting as it is to drink away your feelings or take painkillers and other drugs to numb the pain of your grief, you really should try not to. They might provide temporary relief, but they’ll only make you feel worse in the long run. It can lead to a pretty awful feeling of a hangover the next day or, even worse, become an addiction.
- Talk to a doctor
If you’re still finding it hard to deal with your loss and grief is really getting you down, then don’t be afraid to go and see a bereavement specialist or a GP and tell them exactly how you feel. They can offer you the advice or treatment that you need, or refer you to a psychologist who can help talk you through your problems and overcome them. Everyone can be affected by grief in different ways, but by trying to keep on top of the simple steps above, you can help yourself alleviate the other issues that can come with it.