As we think of the new year and grief, self-care plays an integral role toward healing. It takes time to heal. Those of us who are experiencing grief know that it is easy to neglect our physical needs while grieving. You just don’t feel like doing what you used to do as part of “we” is gone. Yet, the stress of grief can impact us physically and emotionally.
Focus on your physical needs. There is something about looking good, then we feel better. Do the simple things like showering every day and getting dressed.
Make healthy choices with food. Allow yourself to eat chips but don’t forget the broccoli. You might want to set a goal of trying a new recipe each week. There are good options when cooking for one, or invite a friend over for dinner.
Water is your friend. It helps reduce stress. Studies have found that dehydration leads to a higher level of cortisol, the stress hormone. When you stay hydrated it will help you deal with the stress of grief. I keep a glass of water nearby all of the time. It reminds me to drink up. You might find an attractive water bottle that encourages you to drink more water. Decide what will work for you.
Doing something physical each day is part of self-care. Set aside 20-30 minutes for some type of physical activity. You might take a walk around your neighborhood or sign up for a local class. If working out in a group is not your thing, consider a YouTube video that you can do at home. Regardless of your age, you might try yoga to focus on breathing and stretching. Taking a moment to consciously take slow breaths throughout the day will help manage the stress from grief.
Try to pursue a healthy routine. Set small goals for yourself. We know there are dozens of ways you can implement self-care while grieving as these are only a few ideas that you might consider. Remember grief is unique to each person so what works for one person may not work for you. What is important is to start working on self-care today.
The AEA Institute has a 21 Day Self-Care virtual program. It is a personal program that includes daily activities, videos, journals, and polls focusing on behavioral psychology. Let us know what self-care practice you are implementing and how it is working for you.