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Taking Care of Yourself in Grief Coping with losing someone or something you hold dear is one of the hardest challenges in life. In most cases, the pain can be devastating. You may go through all kinds of complicated and unexpected emotions, ranging from shock to very deep sadness. The experience can also damage your physical health, making it a struggle to think straight or to even eat or sleep. Certainly, all of these are normal reactions. But though there are no right or wrong ways to grieve, there is an approach that helps make everything easier. Self-care
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Grieving gives you all the more reason to take care of yourself. The stress of this experience can easily exhaust your physical and emotional strength. That’s why you need to look after your physical and emotional needs as you go through this difficult time.
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Acceptance You can try to hold back your grief, but you do that forever. Acknowledging your pain is important to healing. Shunning your feelings of sadness and loss only extends the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also bring complications, such as anxiety, depression, drug abuse and illness. Tangible or Creative Expression Processing your grief becomes easier when you express it in some tangible or creative way. For instance, write about it in your journal. If you just lost a loved one, write a letter with everything you wanted to say but never had a chance to; make a scrapbook or photo album in celebration of the person’s life; or join an organization or advocacy that was important to him. Physical Health Remember that your mind is connected to your body. When you are physically healthy, you will be able to process your emotions better. You can combat stress and fatigue by getting eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise. Alcohol or drugs can only numb your pain temporarily and set the stage for long-term ruin. Hobbies and Interests There’s comfort going back to the things you used to do, especially those that you always enjoyed. The more you connect with other people, the less the pain becomes. However, don’t let anyone, including yourself, force you into feeling this or that. Your grief is its own, and nobody can impose when you should let go or move on. Don’t be afraid to be judged or embarrassed by whatever feelings you have. Let yourself cry or not cry, be mad, or even laugh or smile at those small moments of joy. Preparation As you try to resolve your grief and pain, prepare for “triggers,” like anniversaries, holidays and other events that can cause memories and feelings to come flooding back. Most importantly, keep in mind that this is totally normal. Again, face the pain and deal with it, but not without expressing it, whether verbally or otherwise.