Suggestions for healing

From Mission Hospice & Home Care

Grieving the death of someone close to you can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Even the smallest tasks of daily living can be overwhelming. It is important to be good to yourself. Put aside what is unnecessary, and instead focus on what nourishes and restores you – and allows you to grieve.

Attend to your physical health and well-being. A healthy diet, plenty of rest, and regular exercise provide a good buffer against the stress of grieving. Do not neglect your routine health care. Consult a doctor if you experience any new symptoms.

It may be tempting to use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief. This only postpones the necessary process of healthy grieving and can have adverse effects on your health.

Give yourself permission to grieve and the time to do it. Open yourself to every feeling that comes along. Give yourself both time alone and time with others whom you trust and who will listen. Be patient with yourself. Do not be discouraged if, at times, you feel that you are taking one step forward and two steps back. Such is the nature of grief. It is true that time does heal.

Give yourself permission to do the things that make you feel good, that comfort you, that give you respite from the pain of grief: a long walk, a good novel, a movie, dinner with a friend. Balance is important. Simple pleasure is good nourishment.

Share your loss with others. Find those who will listen without judgment. Talk about your loss with family and friends who are grieving the same loss. Talk about your loss with someone who is not affected by the loss. The company of others, each with a different perspective, can be valuable.

Trust your instincts and honor your needs. They will, no doubt, vary from day to day – even from moment to moment. You may have plans with someone and, at the last minute, have an overwhelming need to be alone. Allow yourself to cancel. The emotions of grief can be very unpredictable.

Although grieving is a normal response to loss, there are times when people need professional help with their grief. If your grief is seriously impacting other areas of your life (loss of relationships or a job), if you are engaging in self-destructive behaviors or having active suicidal thoughts, if after an extended period of time you continue to have no interest in life, or if others or you yourself feel that you need help – please find help. Seeking help is a sign of strength – not weakness.

If spirituality or religion are part of your life, you are probably well aware of how it can support and comfort you. Simple prayer can be sustaining. Religious and spiritual communities, beliefs, and rituals can all be a great source of strength to those who are grieving. It is not uncommon for loss to raise questions and doubts about one’s faith. If you are experiencing such doubts, find someone to talk  about them with.

Remembering and honoring those who have mattered deeply to use remind us that, even though they are no longer physically present, our relationship with them continues. Our memories bring our loved ones into the present and remind us that they can continue to enrich our lives. Honoring our loved ones can help give meaning to a loss. Some ways we can do this are through rituals, artwork, writing, creating an altar or garden, or supporting a good cause.