TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME
Do something special for yourself every day.
Do not make any major decisions, such as selling the house or booking a long expensive holiday in the first year if possible.
Talk to a caring friend, religious priest or clergymen or counsellor.
Join a support group.
Read books on grief.
Self care is important to prevent further stress to your body. The following have been found to be helpful in coping with grief:
A regular daily routine – have set times for getting up, meals and going to bed.
A balanced diet including breads and cereals; meat, fish and dairy products; fruit and vegetables.
Avoid too much coffee and tea to help you sleep at night, try herbal teas.
Outdoor activities, such as going for a walk or gardening, take you away from the stress and refresh you mentally.
Exercise, such as swimming, walking and team games, will produce chemicals called endorphins in the body, which help to counteract depression and make you feel good. The exercise does not need to be strenuous. If you have doubts about your fitness consult your doctor.
Relaxation: meditation, massage, music.
Write letters to the person you have lost to express your feelings or as a way of saying goodbye.
You can then keep these in a safe place, or bury them under a bush you plant in their memory, or scatter the pieces in a significant place.
Keep a journal as a record of your own journey of grief.
Create a memorial for the person who died: plant a tree, create a memory book or photo album. Children often like to collect items for a memento box.
Commemorate the person you lost on special days, such as birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day. Light a candle, drink their favourite bottle of wine, talk about them. Then go and do something special for yourselves – you deserve it! Plan these activities with the rest of the family.
A relaxing pre-sleep routine: winding down before bed and not watching television.
Avoid seeking relief through alcohol, smoking, medication and other drugs.
Consulting the doctor about physical symptoms, for a blood pressure check, for practical help, for medical certificates, and for help with the grief.
Some people find it helpful to spend fifteen to twenty minutes alone every day. They put on the answering machine so they won’t be disturbed. This time acts as a safety valve. In it they deal with any emotions they have stored up during the day.
There are different ways of grieving at these times: thinking, crying, praying, meditating, writing or drawing, talking to the dog! Some people like to keep a diary. They write down their feelings and the memories of their loved one. They can then see how their grief changes over a period of weeks and months. If the diary is kept in a safe place the written memories become precious in the future. Alternatively some people feel more comfortable with pictures or diagrams.