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Tips For Self Care While Grieving

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“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”

~Christ on the Mount

Bereavement is hard! And so it is important that you make yourself as comfortable as possible as you do your griefwork. You need and deserve the comfort of a soft landing, especially at night, when grief often lurks in the shadows… Let’s look at a few ideas for self care while grieving.

Hands gently holding a heart

Life has smacked you down hard, and you deserve a little indulgence and pampering… even if you have to provide it for yourself! Go ahead and invest in a few items of creature comfort to hold on to for the bumpy road that lies ahead.

Don’t miss our collection of unique and creative comfort items at the end of the page.

A Hierarchy of Grief Needs?

Comfort and sympathy…

Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Don’t be put off by the name, it’s an interesting concept. Maslow’s Hierarchy is a psychological/philosophical model developed in the 1950’s by Abraham Maslow. This is what it looks like:

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

And this, simply, is what it means:

Each of us is motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are inborn, having evolved over the ages. We must satisfy each need, in turn, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious and basic needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher-order needs of philosophy and personal development.

But if the things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away for some reason, we are no longer concerned about maintaining our higher-order needs! We resort to fighting for survival, and loftier pursuits are ignored!

Tips For Self Care While Grieving

Bereavement Hierarchy of Needs

Well, I am proposing to you now a very real “Bereavement Hierarchy of Needs”: (basic needs are listed first)

1. Food, drink, and shelter
2. Comfort and rest
3. Friends and family (emotional support)
4. Knowledge & coping skills
5. Time & healing

See where comfort fits into the scheme of things? It is a simple and basic grief need, and deserves your attention! Just as in Maslow’s hierarchy, when the more basic needs are not met, the higher-order needs will not even be visited.

The lesson to take from this? Take care of your basic needs (food, drink, shelter, comfort and rest) and the more difficult tasks (emotional support, coping and healing) will fall into place much more easily.

How to Find Comfort

How do you find comfort when you feel like you are adrift in a sea of misery?

We propose some interesting solutions below and urge you to take the time to explore and attend to this most basic need…

On a simple note: surround yourself with comfort items, and allow yourself some of your favorite comfort foods…

A pet maybe?

Woman holding a cute cuddly gray kitty

Why not give some thought to getting a dog or cat? (It’s called a pet for a reason).

Love dogs? Then now’s a good time to get one! Unless you want to spend hundreds of $$ on an elegant purebred, find your new companion at the nearest animal shelter.

If you prefer a dog, go for an older, calmer specimen (no chewed up shoes or poop on the carpet). Let his sad old eyes pick you out, and request a hands-on meeting before you decide.

So you’re a cat person instead? Some adult cats are pretty set in their ways, and find it hard to adjust to a new home and routine.  But, rescuing an older cat from the pound might be just the thing to help you focus on something comforting. Whether you start with a new kitty to love and mold to your household, or an older, more settled cat, ask to hold and stroke her before you settle on one, to assess her temperament.

Pets provide tactile comfort and give you something to be responsible for. This combination can be very soothing to the soul in your time of sorrow. A new pet can be especially helpful for bereaved children.

Young boy holding his dog


For more information on pet care and recommended accessories for your beloved pets, click here.

A Soft Landing

Also on the most basic level, make sure the place you rest at home, your bed and lounging area is comfortable and supportive. Soft and cozy fabrics are a great idea.

You can find what you need at Walmart or the dollar store. Just so you find them soothing and comforting. But we have searched carefully and found several very unique and quality comfort items you might not find elsewhere. Check them out:

Tips For Self Care While Grieving

Gift box and flowers
Sympathy Gifts For Kids Who Lost A Loved One
How To Find a Grief Counselor