When it comes to grief – accepting help from others is a form of self-help and many people find talking to friends, family and professionals very supportive and helpful. But you also can help yourself in ways that are practical and psychologically empowering.
Here are some self-help strategies
It’s important to remember that healing occurs from within so while others can help soothe your pain, allow yourself to heal by understanding your needs.
Above all, never hide your feelings because they are there to be expressed. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not coping. Find that special, caring someone who can nurture and care for you. The sort of person who can sit with you through the pain without judging you or expecting you to ‘be strong’.
Don’t be afraid of indulging yourself
In our society, we sometimes find ourselves being critical of people who seem self-indulgent. But when you’re grieving, you need to indulge your self-indulgence by being – and doing something – self-focused to get you through the days, weeks and months.
Self-indulgence doesn’t mean being self-centered nor does it mean spending lots of time and money on yourself. What it does mean when you’re grieving is the ability – indeed, the skill – to know how to look after yourself. It’s important to try to be self-indulgent before you actually feel like it. So, don’t wait until you feel like going out to have breakfast, do it anyway. Do it whether it’s been a habit of yours or not. Indulging yourself to a cooked breakfast served with juice and coffee is a way of nurturing yourself.
Other self-indulgences include:
Physical and emotional benefits of self-indulgence
Researchers have found that massage allows for both emotional release and physical release from the trauma of grief and people have said that it gives from a sense of well-being.
Other activities that have been found to give a sense of well-being include gardening and exercise, particularly walking.
So, whenever possible, get out into the sun and fresh air for 15-30 minutes a day. Getting a little sunlight on your skin can give you a warm and nurturing sensation and sunlight can change brain chemicals, reducing your risk of getting depressed.
Last, but not least, remember to begin doing self-indulgent activities as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you feel like doing them. Get out there and pursue self-indulgence for an enhanced feeling of well-being.
You can read more about coping with grief in Good Grief