The loss of a loved one can be physically and emotionally draining. If the death occurred from a drug overdose, many family members may have lived years with fear, anxiety, helplessness and even anger because of the user’s illness. This type of death is a result of the family’s greatest fears becoming a reality. If the death comes after a prolonged hospice care, the family members have spent countless hours watching each breath as if it could be the last. They have physically cared for their loved one to insure they received the best care possible. Deaths because of suicide bring an immense amount of stress to the family. Many sleepless nights trying to see if they missed something; ‘was there anything they could have done or said to prevent it.’
The point is, with each passing of a loved one comes a roller-coaster of emotions that take a toll on your body, physically and emotionally. Anyone who mourns the loss of a loved-one can benefit from intentional self-care. It is extremely important to encourage survivors to practice good self-care.
First, get rest, eat well, and stay hydrated. If someone offers to bring you a meal, accept their generosity. We have some amazing cooks in South Mississippi, take advantage! But remember between all the fried chicken and pies, be sure to include some nutritious options. Eating healthy provides energy and good well-being for your body.
Also, try to stay active. Even if it is just a walk to the mailbox each day. Get up and get moving. You may want to join a class at the local wellness center or gym. This provides exercise and a group atmosphere that is also good for the soul. You may even make a new friend or two.
Be aware of normal grief and accept the stages. You may experience depression, anxiety and even anger. Find a trustworthy friend to talk with. Also keep in mind when it may be time to talk with a professional. Pro-longed grief that affects your day-to-day life is not healthy. Don’t be afraid to seek help when needed.
Meditation may be something to try. Calm yourself physically and mentally, release stress. There are online resources and self-help books available for the different techniques to try.
We suggest taking a break when the emotions become too much to bear. Watch a movie, read a good-uplifting book, listen to music (again, choose something spiritually uplifting), or interact with children. Find an activity that distracts you from the reality of the death. This may not be a long-term solution, but taking such breaks provide much needed relief from the stress and allow for coping more effectively.
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one knows the immense about of emotions that come with the death. Please take care of yourself and remember there are still friends and family here that love you!