by Rev. Dr. Karen Turek, D.D.M.S., Ph.D.
How do I manage my grief in a healthy way?
There are no universal guidelines for navigating through grief, it is a very personal journey. With that being said, there are some basic truths that may resonate with you and support your journey as you navigate your path of healing.
Lean into the Pain
Feel what you need to feel! Allow time to heal from the inside out. Grieving takes work, it is unpredictable, and it is most likely unlike anything that you have experienced. Your heart has suffered a great loss. Recognize that this loss has created not only an empty space but a shock to your physical and emotional being as well. Just as our body will naturally go into a state of shock after experiencing trauma, so will your emotional state.
Shock is a natural buffer that protects us during the first stages of the grieving process. After the initial shock of your loss begins to lessen, so will the numbness or disconnected feeling that you may be experiencing. Be warned though, this is a double-edged sword and generally as the numbness begins to fade feelings become amplified and intensify as the reality of your loss begins to set in. This is also a time when society may begin to impose expectations about how you should be feeling-putting your grieving process on a timeline.
This is a good time to seek out support through bereavement groups, a spiritual or bereavement counselor, reading material or a spiritual community who will understand that you cannot put timelines on grief. Refrain from judging yourself for not meeting expectations that you, or someone else, may impose on you about where you are in your grieving process. Be gentle on yourself and remember this is your journey!
Self-Care is Essential
After the loss of a loved one even the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning may be overwhelming. It is important to remember that basic needs like water, sleep, food and personal hygiene will help to bring about some semblance of balance.
● Roughly 65 percent of the body is water. Drinking an adequate volume of water each day maintains the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, regulate body temperature, digest food, and more.
● A good rule of thumb for calculating the amount of water your body needs to receive optimum benefit is to take your average weight and divide it by two. In other words, let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, your optimal water intake would be 75 ounces per day.
● Don’t forget to take factors such as exertion levels, and crying (yes…tears drain your body’s fluid supply) into account and adjust your intake appropriately.
Facts about dehydration
● Dehydration causes fatigue, foggy memory, irritability, and puts additional stress on organ function.
● Coffee, tea, soda, alcohol, etc. are not practical substitutes for water. Water is the best substance for reversing the effects of dehydration.
● The epidermis, your skin, is the body’s largest organ. Take a soak in the tub while sipping on a deep glass of room temperature or warm water. Don’t forget to add a wedge of lemon. It is good for the soul!