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Losing a loved one; self-care with grief and loss

Today my family and I said goodbye to my Gran. She passed away at the age of 95 after a short illness. This has obviously brought the subjects of grief, loss and losing an attachment to the forefront of my mind.

Processing that grief and loss of someone so close is something I haven’t, fortunately had to experience as an adult before. I am also 250 miles away from my family and have been unable to make the trip for the funeral, which I have found particularly hard. Someone said to me a few weeks ago that, “we go to the bedside for the last few hours, or to a funeral, for ourselves not the person we have lost”. Today this really rang true for me. I haven’t been able to have that finality, that process of saying goodbye from a distance presents its own difficulties and challenges. There is the guilt of not being there to support other loved ones and a sense of helplessness which only adds to the impact of the grief and loss.

I realise that self-care is hugely important at times like this and this can be broken down in to 3 main areas.

Emotional Self Care – There is no “right or wrong” way to feel, you may feel numb or you may be completely overwhelmed with emotions. Make sure you stay patient with yourself. Finding activities that can help bring happiness can often be helpful, whether it is meeting with friends, taking the dog for a walk or playing a sport, having something to look forward too can make starting the day easier and help release endorphins which help to minimalize discomfort and promote happiness and general wellbeing.

Physical Self Care – Grief and loss can often result in stress which can result in poor sleep, changes in appetite and generally feeling aches and pains and tiredness. If you can set a sleep schedule it can help with improving overall energy levels and getting regular sleep, also a balanced diet, ensuring that you eat 3 meals a day, even when you don’t feel hungry will improve energy levels and can reduce stress. It is common to find that it can be difficult to focus or make decisions at these times, it is important to remember that just like your body, your brain can also need a break, be kind to yourself!

Social Self Care – Often when experiencing Grief and Loss people will become isolated and feel they have to cope by their selves. Processing grief and loss is difficult in itself but is much harder alone. Friends and family can offer emotional and physical support. Some may provide a shoulder to cry on, others might help with making life seem a happier, enjoyable place. It is important to be honest with yourself and those around you regarding your needs at this difficult time.

I am fortunate that I have an amazing social circle, including family and friends who have made this process easier for me and made me realize that where ever I am, I can say my goodbyes, I can mourn the loss of an amazing, supportive lady who I loved dearly, but I can also slowly start to move forward knowing that she would want me to be happy, successful and find joy in living my life, much like she did over the years.

However if you are working through your own grief and loss and need someone to listen, support and aid with moving through the process then please give us a call or email us today, Harriet has specialist training in working with bereavement and we are both here to support you moving forward.