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Taking Care of Yourself in Grief Coping with losing someone or something you hold dear is one of the hardest challenges in life. The pain is often crushing. You may go through all kinds of complicated and unexpected emotions, ranging from shock to very deep sadness. The experience can also affect your physical health, making it hard to sleep, eat, or even think right. These reactions are, of course, normal. But while there are no right or wrong ways to cope with grief, there is an approach that can help ease you into the entire process. Self-care
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Grieving gives you all the more reason to take care of yourself. The stress of this experience can easily exhaust your physical and emotional strength. That’s why you need to look after your physical and emotional needs as you go through this difficult time.
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Acceptance You can try to repress your grief, but not for all time. Acknowledging your pain is important to healing. If you avoid feelings of sadness and loss, you only extend the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also give rise to complications, from depression to substance abuse to physical illness. Tangible or Creative Expression Expressing your grief in some tangible or creative way helps in processing your grief. Write about it in a journal, for example. If a loved one just died, write a letter saying everything you never had a chance to say; make a photo album that celebrates the person’s life; or be part of a cause or organization that your loved one was passionate about. Physical Health Remember that your mind is connected to your body. If you are physically healthy, it will be easier to regain emotional health. You can combat stress and fatigue by getting eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise. Alcohol or drugs can only numb your pain temporarily and set the stage for long-term ruin. Hobbies and Interests There’s comfort in doing all the things you used to do, especially activities that always gave you joy. The more you connect with other people, the less the pain becomes. However, don’t let anyone, including yourself, force you into feeling this or that. Your grief is an independent process, and no one can dictate when the right time is for moving on or letting go. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel, without judgment or embarrassment. Let yourself cry or not cry, be mad, or even laugh or smile at those small moments of joy. Preparation When trying to resolve your pain and grief, be ready for “triggers,” such as holidays, anniversaries, and other events that can refresh memories and feelings. Most importantly, remember that this is completely normal. Again, face the pain and deal with it, but not without expressing it, whether verbally or otherwise.

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