Grief is exhausting.

In addition to the various emotions that come with grief, we may also notice other changes, including physical and mental stress. Things that used to be easy might feel more difficult. Grief impacts our entire being, which can feel overwhelming and fatiguing. Because grief is so demanding of our energy, self-care becomes especially important.

While self-care is ALWAYS important, it is especially crucial during times of intense stress. During times of intense stress, it is also easy to put self-care on the “back burner.” As we grieve, it is important to remember that self-care is an essential part of the grief process. This post offers some strategies for self-care.

Remember that self-care does not diminish the depth of our pain and loss. It does not mean that we are dishonoring our loved one or their role in our lives. It is natural to want or even need to “pause” our grief. Self-care is an opportunity for us to care for our own needs during this difficult time. As you make self-care a priority in your life and in your grief journey, you are making space to honor and attend to the incredible stress that grief can cause and to create some time for rest and healing.

Making time to care for ourselves can also help us gain new perspectives and insights into our grief, giving us space to step away from our grief and come back with fresh eyes. We might learn something new about ourselves, our needs, or our grief. This time for rejuvenation is important in grief.

Below is a list of things that we can do to take care of ourselves. Some may work for you and others may not. Each person is unique. Try different things and do what works for you.

  • Take a walk
  • Sit by a sunny window
  • Read a book
  • Flip through a magazine
  • Walk in the rain
  • Sip a warm, soothing beverage
  • Listen to a joke or comedy sketch
  • Dance to your favorite song
  • Sing as loud as you can
  • Smell flowers
  • Call a friend
  • Get a massage
  • Exercise
  • Try something new
  • Meet a friend for lunch
  • Cuddle with your pet
  • Stretch
  • Journal
  • Create something
  • Try a new recipe
  • Make a favorite recipe
  • Enjoy nature
  • Take a long bath
  • Sit in a Rocking Chair
  • Watch a movie
  • Join a club
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Go for a hot air balloon ride
  • Take pictures
  • Go to a concert
  • Watch birds
  • Light candles
  • Try aromatherapy
  • Wrap up in a blanket
  • Get a physical or check-up
  • Plan a trip
  • Draw or Color
  • Talk to a Counselor
  • Get 8 hours of sleep
  • Listen to music
  • Have a picnic
  • Take a class
  • Look through photos
  • Volunteer
  • Take a drive
  • Eat a well-balanced meal
  • Get a gift for yourself or a friend
  • Sit by a fireplace
  • Write a letter
  • Write a poem
  • Get a new pet
  • Focus on your Breathing
  • Make a memory box/book
  • Paint
  • Go for a run
  • Fix something
  • Work on a Puzzle
  • Plant some flowers
  • Work in the garden
  • Visit a museum or park
  • What are some of the ideas you have for taking care of yourself?

    –Hannah T., Grief Counselor