Managing grief … personal priorities
Be kind to yourself while grieving and don’t expect too much from yourself. You world has changed dramatically, and you will not be up to par in your relationships, your work or other pursuits. Be patient with yourself. Just as a physical injury takes time to heal, so does the injury to your psyche.
Treat Yourself Gently
Treat or reward yourself occasionally with something you really enjoy:
- Get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure (bliss) or a new hairstyle at a salon. Men too.
- Go see a movie all alone (preferably, a comedy).
- Ladies, buy a soft fuzzy robe or some sweet smelling perfume. Men, buy some silk boxers and pick out a great new cologne.
- Take a long hot bubble bath.
- Take a nap.
- Indulge in your favorite gourmet food, like caviar, lobster, Godiva chocolates or rocky road ice cream (occasionally). But don’t eat your way through grief.
- Read a good book. Put on some soothing music.
- Go to the bookstore and browse. Pick out a guided imagery tape. Ask for a copy of “Tear Soup”, by Pat Schweibert.
- Go shopping at the mall and splurge on a nice outfit for yourself. Yes, you guys, too.
Take short periods of “alone time” whenever you feel the need.
Try to enjoy the good days, and don’t let yourself feel any guilt for doing that. Look for the treasures in life. They are still there. Always have been, always will be.
Each morning, set aside 10 minutes to acknowledge your loss. Let your feelings surface, and be honest with yourself about how painful this is. It’s okay to cry, too. Write from your heart into your private “Grief Journal”. Then pull yourself together to face the new day.
Life has dealt you a tremendous wallop. This is one time in life when you should be allowed to feel sorry for yourself. Hold onto comfort items: photos, your lost one’s favorite flannel shirt, a comfort grief pillow or memorial quilt.
Carry a photo and an inspirational poem, quote or letter with you to read during tough times. Carry a keepsake or small personal item that belonged to your lost one. Keep it in your pocket or purse, and touch it when you need to. It will bring comfort and help you connect with your loved one.
Reach out to help someone else. Providing comfort and support for them helps comfort you.
Your world has been torn apart, and it is important to keep as much continuity and familiarity about you as possible as you do your griefwork.
Avoid making major decisions that would impact your life right now (like changing jobs, selling or building a house, moving, changing important relationships). Don’t do anything major for at least the first year.
You are not in your right mind, and your judgment will not be sharp. You also need stability and security right now. Major changes would only add to your stress level.
Don’t pressure your mate about decisions that can be postponed. Put things off whenever possible.
Major advice here: Do not remarry right away or get pregnant. In your loneliness and despair, you may panic and try to replace your lost one this way. Big mistake. You cannot replace a lost loved one. You must put him or her in the right place in your psyche before you even think about a new major attachment. And this takes time. A lot of it.