Self-care is a lot like flossing: You know you should do it regularly, but most people don't. Why? Probably because most people are overstressed, overworked, and overtired. Also, if you're reading this blog right now, there's a good chance that, on top of all that, you're grieving.
For all these reasons, it's important to look at self-care in as realistic a way as possible, choosing ideas and activities that people can actually do not just aspire to. We always recommend you choose the coping and self-care activities that are right for you, but we've put together sixty-four self-care ideas for people who are grieving to get you started.
64 Self-Care Ideas for People Who are Grieving:
1. Take a walk. Hike in the woods, on a local nature trail, or around the neighborhood. The exercise will do you good and you never know what you'll see or who you'll meet.
4. Read. In a 2009 study, it took participants only six minutes to relax once they started reading. For the purposes of stress relief, we suggest you forgo information-heavy texts for a good novel, spiritual/religious reads, or self-help books.
6. Get a few minutes of fresh air and sunlight.
8. Engage in a game or activity that requires focus. I just completed a 1000 piece puzzle so I must warn you: While it was incredibly soothing, I also forgot to do laundry, feed my children, and change out of my sweatpants until its completion four days later. For something a little less time consuming, try your paper's daily Crossword or Sudoku.
13. Plan a night out with friends. Go to your favorite restaurant, see a show, or attend a sporting event.
14. Establish a better work/life balance. Here's how to stop work overload with a few simple boundaries.
16. Listen to your favorite playlist (or our Ultimate Grief Playlist): Music can have a positive impact on both our physical and emotional health, from reducing the perceived intensity of pain to relieving symptoms of depression.
17. Go somewhere that makes you feel at ease. My spot is Barnes and Noble.
19. Take stock of your support system. Who can you count on and how?
20. Look through old photographs.
21. Have one-on-one time with your children.
22. Make out. Apparently kissing boosts immunity, burns calories, and relaxes you. Yeah!
23. No to making out? Try cuddling instead. Cuddling reduces stress and makes you feel happy! Equal opportunity cuddlers can snuggle up with a mate, child, or pup.
25. Watch funny YouTube videos. Yes... seriously.
26. Watch other videos on YouTube.
27. Have some self-compassion.
28. Plan a weekend getaway.
29. Treat yourself to a day of relaxation. Not a fan of the spa? Relax at home.
31. Make your annual doctors and dentist appointments. I know groan, but good health is a part of good self-care!
32. Cross something off of your bucket list. Don't have a bucket list? Create one here.
33. Get into an exercise routine. I don't need to espouse the benefits of exercise because you already know.
35. Be creative.
36. Join a support group. Among other benefits, support groups can help you gain a sense of empowerment and feel less lonely.
37. Seek online grief support. And, hey, the fact that you're here means you're on the right track!
40. Get on the floor and play with your kids (or pet).
41. Find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts.
42. Better yet, try a warm shower or a bubble bath.
44. Visit your place of worship and spend time in prayer. You can read about the relationship between grief and faith here.
45. Join a club or group of any kind. There's benefit in joining any group that gathers around something you like: camera clubs, choirs, widower happy hours, etc.
46. Volunteer your time.
47. Don't let things hang over your head. Either do them or choose not to let not getting them done stress you out. For the proactive, try this Get Off Your Ass Manifesto.
48. Sing at the top of your lungs. Research has shown that singing is like a tranquilizer that both soothes your nerves and makes you feel happy.
49. Or I guess you could just dance with reckless abandon.
50. Open your windows.
52. Retail Therapy. Is it real? Who cares! FYI, Time Magazine says it is though.
53. Sttttrrreeeetttccchhhh. Here's a guide to ten basic stretches.
55. Spend time in a place where you feel close to your deceased loved one(s).
56. Play a sport. Play by yourself or join an adult sports league.
57. Take a yoga class.
60. Throw your plans out the window and spend a few days schedule-free.
62. Go for a drive.
64. Subscribe to 'What's Your Grief' ...and then turn off your computer.
Yeah, you heard me!
How do you take care of yourself? Comment below.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: