10 Self Care Tips for People Who Are Grieving

By Grace Powell

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1. Be Compassionate with Yourself

Grieving isn’t easy and you might feel exhausted. That’s okay. No one grieves in the same way, so don’t compare yourself to others during the process. You are you, and that is enough. 

Write out your positive qualities.

  • Try a positive affirmation. You can find several here.  

  • Download a mental health app like What’s Up or Moodkit.

  • Remind yourself that you are enough. 

2. Keep in Touch

You’re not alone. Reach out to friends and family or groups/organizations that can help you. There are many organizations that exist to support people who are going through the grieving process.  

Compassionate Friends

Grief Share

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Your Art Your Story

Crisis Text Line

3. Nourish

Some people might overeat or under-eat while they are grieving. Try to stay healthy and eat regularly. Exercise if you can and stay hydrated. Moving your body can release “happy hormones” that might make your day a little better. Another part of staying healthy is watching your sleep schedule. Try to maintain a consistent schedule with roughly 8 hours of sleep. 

Some healthy tips: 

  • Finding the energy to cook can be difficult. Sites like Purple Carrot and Blue Apron allow easy access to healthy meals. 

  • Drinking water helps regulate your body temperature, protects your spine and tissues, and keeps your joints healthy. Refer to this chart for daily recommendations of water intake. 

Even simple exercises can help you stay healthy. Try not to over-exert yourself, but remember that moving helps!

4. Creative Expression

It might feel like you can’t find the words to say what you’re feeling. That is okay and completely normal. If you can’t express yourself with words, do something creative to let yourself vent. 

Some ways to express yourself: 

Visual Arts: Paint, draw, sculpt, doodle or color in a coloring book. 

Music: Listen to music, play a musical instrument, or sing.

Writing: Journaling or creative writing.

Dance: Learn a new dance or practice an old one.

5. Take Deep Breaths and Meditate

Stay in-tune with yourself. Long, deep breaths in can help reset your nervous system for a healthier, happier day. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

 Some tips to help you meditate: 

Create a comfortable environment. Consider noises. You can use music, rain noises, or other soothing ambiance. Find a comfortable temperature and location. 

  • Create a comfortable position. You can lie down or sit up. Whatever feels natural. 

  • Close your eyes. You can use an eye mask or an eye pillow if you would like. 

  • Breathe naturally. 

  • Focus on your breath and your movements.

  • If your mind wanders, slowly let the thought go and return your focus onto your breathing.

6. Dedicate Time to Yourself

Set aside time for maintaining hygiene and health. Use the time to relax and take care of yourself. 

  • Shower regularly. 

  • Brush your teeth and comb your hair. 

  • Wash and dry your clothes.

  • Clean up the space around you.

7.  Find a distraction

Whether it’s a book, a TV show, or a movie, distractions can be helpful in long-term healing. Activities that make you laugh are particularly helpful distractions. 

Some online resources for distractions: 

  • Online audiobooks: Librivox

  • Youtube comedians: Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres

  • Online books: Get free books at your local library or The Online Books Page.

“Just sitting in stillness, surrounded by nature, is healing in itself.”

8. Go outside

Research has shown that sunshine improves overall mental well-being. According to the Sunlight Institute “Sunlight triggers release of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, which other than controlling your sleep pattern, body temperature and sex drive, lifts your mood and helps ward off depression.”

Even if it’s not sunny outdoors, being around nature can help ground you to your surroundings. You don’t have to go on a long hike or overexert yourself. Just sitting in stillness, surrounded by nature, is healing in itself.

Outside activities: 

  • Gardening

  • Walking, hiking

  • Yoga

9. Learn something new

Little tidbits and positive new experiences can brighten your day in surprising ways. 

Places to learn something new: 

Online streaming services (documentaries)

Libraries

Museums 

10. Make a list

 Your list can include simple things like “brush teeth,” or “get dressed.” Check off the little things you do. It just might help motivate you.

For more information, feel free to visit the links below.

Sources: 

http://mindfulnessandgrief.com/9-self-care-tips-for-grief/

https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/from-fight-or-flight-to-rest-and-digest-how-to-reset-your-nervous-system-with-the-breath-1.4485695

https://www.usurnsonline.com/grief-loss/grief-self-care-44-tips-for-healing-comfort-peace/

https://www.lourdes.com/centers-and-services/hospice/helpful-tools/care-for-yourself-while-grieving/

https://www.psycom.net/25-best-mental-health-apps

https://www.psychguides.com/guides/depression-hotline/

https://daringtolivefully.com/how-to-be-kind-to-yourself

https://www.crisistextline.org/texting-in/

https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-and-nutrition/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-water-should-I-drink

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-water-should-I-drink#recommendations

About the Author:

Grace Powell is pursuing a multidisciplinary degree in geology, communications, and humanities at the University of Texas San Antonio. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, practicing ukulele, and learning languages. Grace is an active community volunteer who loves meeting new people and making a positive impact.