Your physical health and spiritual well-being

In the first year after your loss, you will need to learn how to take care of this person you have become.

It may be that whatever worked for you before still works for you now. Or you may need to approach your care and feeding anew. The important thing to remember is to take care of your physical and spiritual needs whether you want to or not. You may feel your life is over or has become irrelevant. I assure you that’s not the case as one day you will see. Till then, do what you can to keep your physical body and spiritual well-being on track.

The same things that created and maintained good health before your loss still apply. Find your balance; be moderate in what you eat and drink, and seek restorative sleep as well as regular exercise. Your already stressed body needs to be nourished as best you can. Maintain your friendships and find an outlet for your thoughts and emotions. You may want to write the story of your child’s life or death. You may want to record memories of your child that you couldn’t bear to lose. Hopefully, you will decide to keep a journal and find that it is a safe place to leave some of the grief and hurt that is stored in your heart. You may decide to meditate, join a support group, plant a garden, volunteer, become an advocate or run a marathon. It’s the process that’s important, not the medium. Whatever you choose should speak to your soul and give voice to your pain.  Talk, cry, scream if so moved. Hold on, and let time pass.

There are other healing modalities. You may be helped by joining a support group like Compassionate Friends if you live in a city large enough to offer meetings. Smaller towns sometimes offer grief support groups through the local hospice organizations. Most grief-centered groups hold meetings once a month, which early on may not offer you enough support.

A better solution might be to find a therapist. I cannot emphasize too strongly that finding a therapist to work with is the greatest gift you can give to your wounded heart. When you heal, you bring that healing into all your relationships. It is time well spent and an investment in your future health and well-being. Ask around for a referral from friends and family.  A therapist who has experience in grief counseling will give you the support and guidance you need as you heal.

In addition, there are things you can do for yourself, at home and at no cost to you. One of the best is learning how to meditate. Take the time each day to sit quietly, allowing your thoughts to come and go, dwelling more and more in the space between your thoughts. If your mind is too active, try a guided meditation or a walking meditation. Just keep at it and eventually you will feel more balance in your life. And keep writing in your journal.

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