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Coping with grief: Some self-help strategies – Part 2

In Part 1, self-help strategies were discussed including learning to be self-focused and using self-indulgence activities to reduce the chances of depression.

Here are some more self-help strategies for being kind to yourself in your grief and ensuring that you move in a positive direction emotionally.

Try some journal writing
It might sound daunting. The whole idea of committing to paper or screen your troubled innermost thoughts and feelings can feel very exposing. But, once you’ve taken a deep breath and decided to try, you’ve faced a challenge that could prove empowering.

Many people say that they find journal writing a great survival technique. It’s a very powerful technique when you’re feeling alone or awake in the middle of the night with your thoughts and feelings. Being able to ‘write them out’ means you’ve shared them and you feel lighter in your burden.

By keeping a daily journal, you’ll be able to express your thoughts and feelings and over time, you’ll have a good idea about the progress you’re making. When you’re grieving, you won’t necessarily be aware of the often subtle changes you’re moving through. Once you have your daily record in front of you, you’ll be in a better position to notice the small movements and gauge your progress, appreciating the written journey along the way.

Keeping a journal gives you the opportunity of having a tangible means of assessing your healing.

Be mindful about your diet
Our diet is always important but even more so when we’re grieving. Research has found that our immune systems are affected by grief and a healthy diet helps our bodies fight infection.  

Perhaps you might find yourself having little appetite in the early days of your grief. Or you might find that you eat smaller than usual portions or you might have smaller meals more often during the day. This sort of picking at food and ‘grazing’ are very common eating patterns. Don’t be overly concerned about these changes. Be mindful about allowing your body to decide how much you’ll have and the frequency of your meals. It’s the type of food and the quality of it that are the most important considerations.

Keeping sound nutritional principles in mind, you can eat as your body dictates and still get all the nutrients that you need. You might find that you will choose easily digestible foods like yoghurt, soup, sandwiches, cereal and fruit. As you move through your grief, you will have the energy to consider more complex food combinations or you might have someone who can cook for you and help you prepare your meals. If there’s concern about not getting all the nutrients needed, supplementation with multivitamins will help until normal eating patterns are resumed.

Even simple dishes can be nutritional and balanced and there’s no shortage of recipes you can glean from magazines and the internet.

You can learn more about self-help strategies in Good Grief.

One Response

  • Pendii

    December 22nd, 2014

    Thank you for these words on writing about grief. I have been kepieng a journal for several years now, but before I started this I had already lost or thrown out the diaries I kept as a child. My sister died age 7 in 1980, so I would have liked to be able to look back on what I wrote as I was growing up. I recently decided to start writing a book about my journey through her death and my healing journey to the present and I found it hard going! It’s still on my to do’ list, although, having written only a few pages, has slipped off the top of the pile. If you have any tips for me, I’d appreciate them!

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