When you are grieving, the last thing you want to do is think about yourself and your own needs. You often get so wrapped up in how sad you feel, that it is hard to think about yourself, but this is exactly what you need to do. I wish when I was dealing with the aftermath of my own father's death, that I would have done a lot more for myself, especially self-care. Here are some different ways to practice more self-care when you are dealing with grief.
Embracing and Accepting Your Grief
When people think of self-care, they often envision you taking a bath or reading a book or doing something by yourself. While self-care does involve these activities to a certain extent, that is not the beginning and end of it. Self-care is all about doing something for you, which sometimes means just accepting your feelings. With grief, this might be depression, sadness, misery, loneliness, denial, confusion, anger, and so many more emotions. Instead of trying to ignore them or pretend they aren’t there, just embrace them, accept that they are a part of who you are right now, and try to move on. This is an amazing self-care practice that can really help you when you are grieving.
Doing Something for Yourself
When you are ready, think about what would help you the most. Don’t think of the rules or what others expect of you. Think of what YOU want to do, feel, or think right now. Want to go see a movie? Go alone or bring a friend. Want to get out of the house? Try taking your dog for a walk. Want to sleep all weekend and eat ice cream in bed? Do it! Want to go shopping? Go for it! This is your grieving process and your self-care, so what you think others will think about it has nothing to do with you. That is their own problem.
Have Patience with Your Feelings
Finally, make sure you are patient with yourself. This is part of self-care as well. Taking care of yourself means not rushing the grieving process or feeling like you owe someone else a fast grieving period. Whether you lost someone in your life or went through a traumatic experience, that grief can follow you around for a long time. It won’t always feel the same or as bad as it might feel right now, but the timing of when you “move on” is entirely up to you. Nobody has written a book or rule about the exact amount of time you are allowed to grieve for.