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Self-Care in Grief

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Nutrition

I understand that cooking is the last thing on your mind. Without good nutrition, it is nearly impossible to function on a day-today basis. You know you should eat but just don’t have the energy or will to cook. Juice Plus+ Complete is an easy meal replacement.

I know how difficult it is to get the proper nutrition when your heart aches. When you ignore your physical needs in stressful times, it is highly likely that your body will break down. Help support your immune system with Juice Plus+ Fruit, Vegetable and Berry Blends in convenient capsule form.

Exercise

I realize that it doesn’t make sense to exercise. You are exhausted and don’t want to get out of bed or off the couch. However, just 10-20 minutes of exercise increases  your feel-good hormones helping you manage your sadness and grief. Check out these FREE exercise videos for beginners to advanced.

Affirmations

I know when something bad like child loss happens, it is easy to go into a tailspin of negativity. Everything becomes a problem. Your attitude about life changes. You feel robbed of your joy, happiness and future. This is a natural response to be angry.  Adding some positivity through affirmations help process your grief. Affirmations are said in the present tense. Saying them in the present tense works with the subconscious mind. When we solely rely on the conscious mind to make change, it prevents us from moving forward. It is those inner thoughts that drive our decisions, and changing those is a great place to start.

Write each affirmation on it’s own index card. Repeat to your self the affirmation for 20 seconds per card. Do this exercise 2-3 times per day.

 

Some sample phrases or affirmations are:

  • I am okay.

  • God loves me.

  • I am strong.

  • I am loved.

  • I am smart.

  • I am beautiful.

  • It is okay to take time to grieve

  • I will feel grief but not wallow in it.

  • I chose love.

  • I can do make it through my grief and I will!

  • I let go of my sorrow but hold onto love for my loved one.

  • I heal with curiosity and hope.

  • My grief is the opportunity to love spread my wings.

  • I honor my loved one by living for those who live.

  • I have joy.

Breathwork

I recognize you may be having difficulty breathing? Stress, anxiety and loss causes breathing to become shallow, quickened and reduces oxygen flow. Lack of oxygen contributes to headaches, fatigue and  foggy thinking. It is important to remember to breath. This is one of the techniques that work very well in grief. You focus on breathing in and breathing out.

Box Technique:

Think of your breathing pattern as a box. In the upper left corner draw a horizontal line to the right. This line represents your inhalation. Now draw a line straight down. This represents your exhalation. The third line goes back to the left representing your inhalation again. The next line is straight up, connecting to the original starting point. You have now created a box pattern to follow for your breathwork. With each line, or breath, count to four slowly. With the inhalation, breathe deep and push the fresh air down deep into your lungs so your belly expands. As you exhale, empty your lungs and belly. Repeat the box breathing five to ten times. Clear your mind of everything but the effort it takes to follow the box.

Breathing like this slows down your heart rate, clears your thoughts, and allows space to think. The quietness allows you to hear God. It is here that you will hear His answers to prayer.

Sleep Hygiene

I know what it is like to struggle with sleep after child loss. It is one of the biggest things you have to deal with. It is no wonder, the desire to take  care of yourself at night is gone.  Improving your sleep hygiene is an important piece of self-care.

So what is sleep hygiene? It is the art of preparing oneself to go to bed and sleep including washing one’s face, brushing one’s teeth, and donning sleepwear.  In today’s tech filled world, it also includes removing  technology from your bedroom. Instead of your bedroom being relaxing,  the TV blares nightly news of tragedy and devastation.

Cell phones emit blue lights that stimulate your brain rather than allowing it to relax. Social media is a black sinkhole that draws you in and won’t let you out. Add to this the fact you are already in a place of grief and unrest; it is no wonder you have difficulty sleeping. Brain fog, forgetfulness, and impaired judgment are all signs of sleep deprivation. You may also notice weight gain, poor digestion, and diminished motor skills. Serotonin, the sleep hormone, increases with the more sleep you get. Getting quality sleep is a major step in helping your body to heal. It is during sleep that your physical body heals, and your brain relaxes.

 

Follow these simple steps to improve your sleep hygiene:

 

  1. Remove the TV from your bedroom. The bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation not disaster stories or nasty political campaigns. The last things that you hear before going to sleep are what are on your subconscious mind when you fall asleep, and negative thoughts are not what you want to feed your brain.

  2. Remove other electronics as well: laptop, tablet, and cell phone. If you are using electronics as your alarm, buy an old-fashioned alarm clock.

  3. Focus on washing your face and brushing your teeth. Make it a habit again.

  4. Read a non-electronic book

  5. Complete your affirmations

  6. Journal

Hydration

I remember how difficult it can be to drink water in the days, weeks and months following loss. Dehydration is a special danger for bereaved parents because the shock of their losses often leaves them stunned, powerless to focus on their needs, and without the energy to carry out any plans. You may also experience general lack of energy, loss of motivation, general aches and pains, or headaches. Your body are 80 percent water and when you  don’t replenish what you use, your organs can shut down. You need water to detoxify your body and flush out the toxins that accumulate.

During stress, you produce extra toxins that can stay in your system. The only way to get rid of them is to drink water. And I mean water. Coffee, tea, sodas, or alcohol do not replace water.

 

It is recommended to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example if you are a 120-pound woman, then you need to drink at least sixty ounces of water. You will see your skin replenish, energy improve, and digestion start to move. Give your body the water it needs.

 

Use these simple tips to drink half your body weight in ounces of water:        

 

  1. Drink 8 ounces first thing in the morning – before morning coffee

  2. Set an alarm every hour to drink water

  3. Purchase a water bottle that you like and use

  4. Carry the water bottle in the car with you and drink at every stop light or stop sign

  5. Drink 8 ounces of water before every meal

  6. Add fruit to your water for flavor

Yoga

I see many people suppress their grief. This is a common coping mechanism. Most likely your grief has not only been in your mind but also in your spirit. Eventually it gets stuck in your body. Yoga uses movement, breath and sound to release pain and suffering and connect back to love.