Though taking care of yourself seems like a luxury, it’s actually essential to your
health and well-being. When you’re preoccupied by stress or grief, your immune system
can become compromised, leading to a greater likelihood of illness. An essential
component in taking care of yourself involves exercising control over your own life.
You do have control over your actions, your activities and your choices. By consciously
exercising that control, you gain a sense of mastery and confidence.
Use these tips to get you started in taking care of yourself:
Laugh. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. It makes you forget for a while
and produces endorphins which are your body’s natural way of producing pleasure.
Get adequate rest. Rest, food and nutrition keep your body energized and are important
stress-busters that provide healthful benefits. You’ll feel better physically, which
soon translates into how you feel emotionally.
Choose relaxing activities. There is comfort in getting a relaxing massage, listening
to soft music, reading, walking or meditating. Just ten minutes of quiet moments
can help clear your mind.
Make time for you.Do something that gives you pleasure. It doesn’t have to be expensive
or time-consuming to produce benefits you can feel. Playing a game/sport, gardening,
having dinner with a friend, or seeing a movie all provide you with the same effect.
Join a support group.Sharing with a group of peers can help you talk through your
stressful times. For some, the support from others is all they need.
Start a journal. Writing down your feelings can be very therapeutic. It’s a private
way for you to really open up.
Turn to your faith or spirituality. Consider how they can provide inspiration and
enlightenment. If it’s important to you, going to church, even if you haven’t been
in awhile, may provide solace.
Read. Buy books on change, stress-relievers, self-help or spirituality.
Seek and accept help. When people offer assistance, accept it. They might offer a
suggestion that worked for them that you may have overlooked.
Exercise. It is important for everyone to have as part of a daily routine. It is
even more important for someone who is grieving. Exercise provides emotional release
and reduces stress. When we feel good physically, we are more prone to feel good
mentally and emotionally.
Avoid Harsh Self Talk to yourself.Be gentle and kind to yourself. Be patient with
your emotions and allow yourself to grieve. Don’t get down on yourself or frustrated
with the excessive emotions that come with grief. Give yourself the freedom to grieve
and don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself.
Rely on your support system.At timesit may not seem true but there are people
around you who care and will support you. Lean into these people and let them help
carry the burden. We should never do this alone and we need to rely on others to
lighten the heavy burden of grief.
These tips and suggestions won’t eliminate the hurt but they will help reduce negative
repercussions. Some stress and anxiety is normal; and it’s not a bad thing, but when
it starts to get progressive, that’s when you should seek professional help. It is
important to be intentional about maintaining a sense of balance in your life. Balance
will allow your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs to be met.
Prayer for Bereavement
Dearest Jesus, who wept at the death of your friend and taught that they who mourn
shall be comforted, grant us the comfort of your presence in our loss. Send Your
Holy Spirit to direct us lest we make hasty or foolish decisions. Send Your Spirit
to give us courage lest through fear we recoil from living. Send Your Spirit to bring
us your peace lest bitterness, false guilt, or regret take root in our hearts.
Tear Soup is one of the best and most popular grief resources available. Although
it looks and reads like a fairy tale or child's fable, it is actually most informative
about grief for adults as well as children. A must read.
"A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis
(scholarly author of The Chronicles of Narnia).
Mr. Lewis married late to the love of his life, Joy Gresham, who died four years
later of bone cancer. This book is his heavy spiritual journey through grief following
her death. A comforting, important book, highly recommended for anyone who has lost
“On Grief and Grieving” by Elizabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler
The Lord has given. The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.