Self Care for the Bereaved
By Maureen Kramlinger
- Eat healthy foods: bread and whole grains, vegetables & and fruit, meat, milk and dairy products. Avoid junk foods.
- Drink plenty of fluids: water and juices—8 glasses a day for hydration and eliminating wastes.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They can cause dehydration, headaches, and low back pain. Alcohol steals vitamins, decreases circulation, can cause heart fluttering and can act as a depressant.
- Can help clear your mind and improve concentration.
- Generates a feeling of accomplishment and control.
- Releases chemicals to promote a sense of well-being.
- Increases energy and enhances the body's ability to fight disease.
- Strengthens the heart muscle and improves flexibility.
- Helps control weight and improves muscle tone and appearance, which helps to improve self image.
- Promotes better sleep at night, as muscles relax after exercise.
- Reorganizes and redirects static energy to help you feel more calm.
Exercise works best when done out of doors, and early in the evening, if possible.
Sleep and Rest
- Avoid caffeine, heavy foods and major mental or physical tasks before bedtime.
- Avoid violent TV programs late at night.
- Avoid over-use of habit-forming tranquilizers and barbiturates.
- Relax before bed by taking a bubble bath.
- Encourage your mind to let go of your day.
- Practice relaxation by tensing/releasing muscles from toes upward to the top of your head.
- Listen to a meditation, relaxation or guided imagery tape.
- Affirm to yourself that you are OK—hurting, but OK. Loss is the problem, not you!
- Notice what's on your mind, on the surface. Then notice what surfaces next.
- Keep a notebook to release thoughts that weigh on you.
- Put things like keys and paperwork in the same place so you can find them.
- Make lists of things to do.
- Lower your expectations about how much you can do and how soon.
- Expect that you will not be able to concentrate, make decisions and/or remember things as well as usual.
- Write e-mails, letters and poetry. Write in a journal. Record your feelings on tape.
- Talk with others about how you feel to help release bottled-up feelings and tension. Join a bereavement support group.
- Laugh. Grief is serious, but not always solemn. Laughter discharges grief energy.
- Read books, articles and poetry written by others who know about loss.
- Phone a compassionate, supportive, cheerful friend.
- Admit when you need help and accept help. You need to do this yourself, but not do it alone.
- Share your spiritual questions and concerns with another who will understand and accept you.