Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taking care of yourself

When a child dies, the grief is intense. You become immobile. You don’t care about anything. You don’t want to think about anything except the child that you lost. Your number one priority now should be to take care of yourself. You may have other children who need you; you may have a husband who needs you; you may have a job or activities you are involved in that need your input.

Grief affects the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical parts of your body. This change in your life will drain you physically and exhaust you emotionally. Grief work is hard work, the hardest you will ever have to do. So how should you deal with these changes in your life while walking this difficult journey we call grief. Here are a few suggestions.

Doing daily exercise is good for both your spirit and your body functions. A class in yoga or pilates or both will help you physically and emotionally. It will release chemicals that are good for your body and give you that energy you so desperately need. If you don’t have time to do a complete regimented program, try just walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day at a 16-minute or better mile. Keeping fit will keep your body ready for the continued adjustment to loss.

Drink a lot of fluids and force yourself to eat properly. A well-balanced diet with lots of water, fruits and vegetables will help your energy level and keep you healthy. Try some herbal tea for relaxation. Your body is under a tremendous amount of stress as you adjust to your loss.

A good night’s sleep is important. Resting is good for any anxiety you may feel about your loss. Try not to take medication to sleep.

Listen to some meditation tapes or play some instrumental background music. You’ll be surprised at how music will help you to relax and gain a different perspective.

Read. Whether it is a comic book, a novel, a grief book or a magazine article, you will need to relax and relieve some tension during the day. If a specific grief book, you may come to understand your own reactions better as you go through your grief journey. Keep your mind active.

Volunteer in a hospital, church or school. Or perhaps help a friend who is not well. When you do things for others, you will feel better about yourself and your own situation.

Find a place of worship and attend. This may be difficult for those who want to blame God for what happened to their child. But in attending and sitting and listening, perhaps your faith will be restored and will help in your healing process.

Reach out to friends and family. We are not alone. There are many going through similar experiences. Find some of those people and share your thoughts and your child with them. If you are having trouble coping and think a grief therapist might be of help, seek one out. But in doing so, make sure they understand and are helpful to your specific needs. A grief support group can help you through your journey and allows you to realize your feelings are normal.

If you feel you must do something related to your child, why not try a scrapbook or a video of pictures you have of them. It will be something you can always look at, now and in the future with fond memories.

You will survive this loss. It may take a year, two years, five years, but you will eventually come out on the other side of grief. Try some of these techniques and see if any of them are of help to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment