Grief & Bereavement Top Tips: Prioritizing Self-Care After a Loved One Passes Away

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The AgingCare.com forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best tips and suggestions for taking care of yourself physically and emotionally throughout the grieving process.

Ideas for Self-Care While Grieving

“When folks tell you to take care of yourself now, do so. The exhaustion should pass and you will have the strength to go on and honor your loved one’s memory in all the ways that come to your heart. If you have a good physician, now is the time to go get a checkup. Be proactive about your health, and stay as active as possible.” –keeper42

“Treat yourself gently. Get a pedicure or facial. Treat yourself to something special or go out to dinner with a friend if you feel up to it. You went through a lot and you need time to recover. Exercise. Just taking long walks will help. Even if you and your loved one did not always get along, you still might want to do something to remind you that they are gone, like planting a tree or donating to charity in their name. It’s a reminder that you survived and that the cycle of life continues.” –CaregivingNYC

“Be sure to take care of yourself. Stay hydrated, exercise gently, eat properly, get your sleep and rest, and allow yourself some time away from the grief to focus on other things. You may find yourself more tired than usual. It has been said that grieving for an hour is like digging ditches for an hour. You will get through this.” –golden23

“Try to relax. Eat nourishing food and read some books on grief. At one point, I thought I was going crazy, but books on bereavement helped me better understand what I was feeling. If you have a good friend, share your feelings with them.” –Marcella59

“Grief waits for you. You may get busy, but as soon as you stop to take a breath, it appears. I found it important in the early days and months following a loss to give myself enough time and space to ‘feel my feelings.’ It is not easy and there is a lot of emotional pain, but it is a necessary part of the healing process. I found that I was a much less social creature during this stretch, as I needed my energy and time to process my grief.” –golden23

“Sometimes the stress of caring for someone and going without sleep creates a disturbance or an imbalance in the body. Put a teaspoon of Vick’s VapoRub in the water of a hot shower so you inhale the steam; the camphor is grounding for your energy. After the shower, rub lotion over every bit of skin and especially into the spine, all the while blessing your body and thanking it for hanging on and letting you keep living. This will help bring yourself back into yourself and strengthen you. Our loved ones can sometimes help us MORE from the spiritual plane of being. Being calm and centered, taking loving care of yourself, and VALUING YOUR OWN LIFE are the best ways to hear and feel that your loved one’s presence is still available to you, still loving you and still helping you.” –Singingway

“In the Jewish tradition, we take a week off after the funeral and practice ‘sitting Shiva.’ Basically your friends take care of you and you stay at home and take the time to withdraw from the world and its activities and mourn. It was SO helpful for me. I think anybody should consider taking a week for their own mental health and to honor their loved one.” –AbbyWilson

“I think being kind and patient with yourself, just as you have been with your loved one for so long, is important as you adjust to all of the many, many changes. After all, we’ve had the privilege of an experience that many shy away from. Let’s allow that to broaden our perspective on ourselves as well. Each day offers an opportunity to start new and creative things that you enjoy that have been ‘shelved’ for so long.” –Sudie7

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