How Self Care Has Helped Me Get Through the Loss of My Mom
Apr 16, 2019
Losing someone so close to us and influential in our lives is so very difficult. It can feel paralyzing and overwhelming. It is a shock to our bodies physically and emotionally.
This past fall, I lost my mom and it continues to be the most difficult thing I have ever dealt with and continue to process.
Dealing with such a loss has made me passionate about helping others go through the grief process with self love and compassion.
The love of yourself, your friends and family, and remembering your own strength and resilience are all helpful to getting through such a loss.
At the beginning of this journey, I quickly realized that I had to utilize self care to function. I knew I had to put one step in front of the other to get through the day and where I began was taking care of myself.
I wanted to share my most helpful self care techniques with anyone else going through such a loss to help them through the healing process.
1) Focus on self love and compassion and take it easy on yourself.
Truly, take it easy. Knowing that you are doing the best you can and taking it day by day is important to not feel as overwhelmed with getting back to daily activities. If you're anything like me, you might feel like you should be doing x, y, or z, but remember that is okay if you are dealing with brain fog, functioning slower than you normally would, and having mixed emotions that may come on quickly. Life has changed and that means you can allow yourself to adapt and go at your own pace.
Self love also includes nourishing your body with food and hydration. Remember to drink a lot of water while grieving as you are losing water through tears. Ice water and lemon water are two drinks that feel refreshing to me. Tea is also soothing depending on the weather outside as well. Work to bring in fresh fruits and veggies as well as protein to give you strength. Eating a balanced diet can aid in positive mood, so adding these in when you can can help your mental state as well.
Take the time to take care of your body and skin. Bring lotion with you during the day to use for your skin to feel hydrated and taken care of. Wash your face and apply lotion before bed to feel relaxed and ready for sleep. Dry brush before showering to stimulate lymph flow and detox.
Think about doing all of these things with the intention of loving yourself and caring for your own well being.
Do certain activities bring you joy and relaxation? Maybe it's reading, painting, gardening, or a hot shower. Think about what you do that makes you happy. Write these down. Work to do at least one every day to help bring positive feelings to the surface.
2) Move in whatever way feels comfortable.
For me, this is running. Running was something I did with my mom and something she taught me. My love for it came from her, and I have been able to carry on that legacy in memory of her. For you, this feeling of movement could be walking, yoga, dancing, lifting weights, or stretching, and those are all wonderful outlets. Movement and sweating can help you release both negative emotions and toxins. For me, it is a physical release. Not only does exercise improve endorphins (feel good chemicals) in your brain, but by feeling strong physically it will also help you to feel strong mentally and emotionally. Even if you solely focusing on breathing, that flow and connection to your heart can make a positive impact. I notice that if I take deep breaths and focus on a long exhale it helps me to calm down. Remember to start slow and know that any small amount of movement is good. It's okay to get back to where you were slowly and exercise self compassion. If you are not in the mood to move at all that is okay! Just remember that you might feel better if you do.
Meditation can have a powerful and calming effect on the body and mind. I like to spend the first 5-10 minutes when I wake up meditating. I use the app Simple Habit as it has different voices and the ability to choose a meditation based on whatever feeling you are experiencing. I feel significant shifts in my attitude and outlook for the day when I meditate in the morning. Start your day and perspective off on the right track and you should feel the benefits throughout the day.
4) Tune in and feel.
Whatever you are feeling, it is normal. It is normal to cry and to feel sad, shocked, or stuck. Don't be afraid to let it out. Everyone grieves in different ways. When feelings hit me the hardest it is usually because I have been bottling them up, staying busy and not tuning in. I urge everyone dealing with loss to take time to tune in to how you are feeling so you process what feelings are surfacing. I am generally a happy person, so I have had times in which I wanted to keep up that persona and stay bubbly; however in the long run during those times I was holding myself back from healing in the moment.
5) Reach out to your community.
Whether it's friends. family, a therapist, or your pet, remember to lean on others for support. That is what they are there for. Sharing feelings and talking through your thoughts and what you're experiencing is important in the healing process. I find that often these conversations lead to some sort of laughter which helps us feel better as well.
I hope these self care ideas help and I wish you blessings on healing your beautiful heart.