After a loss, in addition to taking time to express our pain, it is vital to take time to nurture ourselves. Grief tends to deplete our energy and emotional reserves, leaving us feeling exhausted and empty. We promote healing by addressing our pain and giving ourselves plenty of TLC (tender loving care).
Just as individuals experience grief differently, we each benefit from various kinds of self-care. And our needs can vary from day to day. One day, curling up in a soft blanket and escaping into a good book may feed our soul. The next day, a brisk walk with a friend might relieve stress and encourage us. Most of us benefit from a balance of time alone and time with people who contribute to our sense of well-being. Complete isolation or a continual blur of activity seldom truly nurtures.
Taking care of ourselves also means saying “no” to people or activities that drain our limited reserves. Perhaps we can resume those relationships or commitments at a later time, but right now we need to protect our hearts, conserve our energy, and spend time with people who help nurture us. Though it may feel self-centered, our self-care will strengthen us and free us to be more attentive to others’ needs in the future.
Today’s Dose of Comfort
Write down at least ten activities that nurture you. Reading? Watching a movie? Exercising? Praying? Meeting a friend for coffee or a meal? Do at least a few of the options involve other people? Which one will you engage in today? Pick another for tomorrow, and consider scheduling one into every day this week.
(Adapted from Doses of Comfort; Daily Insights Into Grief and Suggestions for Healing)