Caring for Yourself
Riley Children's Grief Team
Grief is not just an emotional experience. In fact, grief impacts every dimension of our being: physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual. You may find some of your grief symptoms are related to each of these dimensions. Maybe you feel exhausted and have tense muscles (physical). Maybe you are confused and disoriented (cognitive). Maybe you feel like you are on a roller coaster of emotions (emotional). Maybe you find it hard to interact with others right now (social). Maybe you find it difficult to pray or attend faith services that you used to (spiritual). Because grief impacts every dimension of our being, it is important to find a variety of ways to care for yourself during this time. Here are a few self-care ideas:
- Rest. You may not be able to sleep regularly or as much as you used to sleep. Rest when you can.
- Have small snacks available. It can often be difficult to eat a full meal, and many have no appetite. Consider eating small, nutritious snacks throughout the day.
- Walk. Go for a 15 minute walk each day. Even low impact exercise such as walking has physical and mental health benefits.
- Spend time outdoors. Sunshine and fresh air can improve our mood, even if just a momentary respite.
- Engage in comfort. Imagine all of your favorite comforts – blankets, food, a bath, etc. Try to engage in at least one comfort each day.
- Avoid substances. Refrain from using alcohol and illicit drugs that could impair your decision making or interrupt in needed sleep.
- Seek support. Whether through a grief counselor or support group, find a supportive space to talk about your grief and your child.
As always, if you are experiencing concerning grief symptoms, please contact your primary care provider.