Grief and Self-Care:

Tiffany headshot compressedMy name is Tiffany Eisenbraun and I am one of the grief counselors with Roper and Sons Funeral Home. I wanted to take some time to discuss a topic I have a passion for, with grief work. I currently run our Structured Grief Group for individuals who have experienced a loss within the last 18 months or for people who may not have worked through their grief. I also work as a counselor with an agency in town with individuals who would like to have more one on one attention with their grief work. Grief is what led me to the counseling field and I enjoy the work I get to do with both my group and my individuals.

Self-care is something that is important in our everyday lives however, it becomes extremely important when we are going through grief and loss. Some of you may be asking what is self-care exactly and how do I do it? Self-care is exactly what it says, taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Self-care can look like going to the gym when we need a boost of energy or it can mean staying in bed a little longer to help mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. Often our grief can overwhelm us emotionally, which makes us feel physically drained. These are times that are extremely important to make sure our basic self-care needs are being met.

There are five different domains of self-care and it is important to make sure that all five of these areas are being met. Often during grief people are taking care of one or two of the domains, while neglecting the rest. The five domains are:

  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual

There are certain activities that can fulfill multiple domains. Going for a walk or a hike for example can engage the physical domain because of health benefits, spiritual because you are walking in nature and finding a spiritual connection, and emotional because walking is a stress-buster. Below are some other examples that may be helpful to make sure you are maintaining your self-care following a death or any type of loss you may be experiencing:

Listen to your Body- Allow yourself to cry if you need to, sleep if you need to or if you need to reminisce, then take that time for yourself.

Lower expectations for yourself- You may not be able to resume your life the way it was 100% before your loss. Do not be afraid to ease yourself back into your daily routine. Feel free to go back to work part-time for a while or take a break. Educate those around you that you may not be able to meet your obligations in the same way that you did before the loss.

Seek counseling if you need it- There is never a thing as too much support. Often it can be helpful to talk to someone who is removed from the situation and can provide support specific to your grief. This can be done in an individual setting or even a grief support group. Do not hesitate to contact a grief counselor or a medical professional if you are struggling with your grief or are feeling hopelessness.

Let others know what you need from them- Others may not know what you need during this time. Give yourself permission to tell people what you may need from them. This could mean you need someone to spend your evenings with or it may mean you need some alone time.

Take the time to do things for yourself- When you feel up to it engage in activities that you get enjoyment from. These may be activities that you do alone or with a group of people. Whichever that may be, do not be afraid to put yourself first.

Pamper yourself- Take some time to treat yourself. Give yourself a spa day, take a bubble bath, buy a new outfit, or just go for a walk in a new place. Take time for yourself and find the connection with yourself again.

Keep a journal- Using writing to express your emotions can help you work through your grief. This can be something you use in counseling or to just keep to yourself.

Get physical exercise- This is one of the domains that can help fill multiple self-care domains. Try to stay physically active to your comfort level, it can help improve the way you feel.

Make sure you are eating and getting enough sleep- These two things will help you to function to the best of your ability. A healthy appetite and sleep are essential to get through the day. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to help you stay on track with a healthy appetite as well as get at least 8 hours of sleep at night.

Roper and Sons offers grief support through our Guided and Structured groups. If you would like more information on our grief support groups or are seeking a grief counselor, please call 402-476-1225.

Thank you for reading and we will see you next time!

Tiffany Eisenbraun, LMHP

References:
Grief and Loss: Self-Care. (2014, May 9). Retrieved May 16, 2017, from https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/services/support/grief/self.html
Zamore, F., Leutenberg, E. A., & Brodsky, A. L. (2008). Griefwork: healing from loss: reproducible, interactive, and educational handouts. Duluth, MN: Whole Person Associates.

 

 

 

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