17 Apr Taking care of your wellbeing after loss
Losing a loved one can unearth so many different feelings – from sadness, to anger, stress and much more. You’ll likely experience a wide spectrum of emotions as you deal with your loss and the grief journey isn’t an easy one and is very personal to you. But during this time, it’s important that you don’t lose focus on your own mental and physical wellbeing, always remaining kind to yourself as you deal with your grief. As we enter Spring, it’s as good a time as any to focus on ourselves, taking that additional time for self-care, especially if you’re spending much of your time at home right now as many of us are. So, we thought we would share some pointers that may help you do something positive for yourself and perhaps provide a little guidance and support at this time.
Although many of us are restricted to our one hour of daily exercise due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to get outside and take in the Spring sunshine (if you’re able to). Sunshine can help to boost your vitamin D levels and produce melatonin, which directly impacts sleep quality and has been known to help prevent depression. Plus, if you spend your time outside walking or jogging (if you feel up to it), it will help to produce endorphins, that all-important chemical that’s needed to boost your mood and feelings of wellbeing. But be careful that you don’t overdo things – ease yourself into this gently and be kind to yourself.
Fuel your mind
Something that can easily slip when we’re not feeling our best, but eating is essential during this time. Plus, if you can make healthy food choices, that’s even better. The NHS highlights that making healthy choices in your diet can make you feel ‘emotionally stronger’ because you’re doing something positive for yourself, helping to support the healthy functioning of the brain and body. The relationship between mental health and nutrition is undergoing additional research and some foods that have been proven to improve brain health and certain types of mood disorders include fatty fish, dark chocolate, fermented food, bananas, oats, berries, nuts and seeds, as well as beans and lentils. So, fill up your plate and feel nourished.
This is something that we always come back to because we truly believe in the importance of talking through your feelings. Whether it’s with a loved one or a trained counsellor, communication is very important, and can help you to explore your emotions and fully understand what you’re going through. Not only will this help you to move forward but will offer that much-needed support in your grief journey. This is why at Coles we have a bereavement counsellor on-site for free 1-2-1 sessions for the Cardiff community. While we’re in isolation and practising social distancing measures, these sessions will be conducted over the phone to focus on the safety and wellbeing of all. So, if you’d like to speak to someone, please reach out to our team today, we’re here to help.
Get to know yourself
Now may be a good time for some self-exploration, especially as loss of identity is something that many experience when they go through the grieving process. You may find that your identity was tied to the person you’ve lost – you were a spouse, a caregiver, a sibling, a friend. When they’re gone, your sense of purpose and direction may be less clear and that’s completely natural. While there’s no easy fix and as humans we’re often resistant to change, taking the time to reflect on your identity and express yourself is incredibly important and can be quite healing on this journey. Take the time to explore what you enjoy, what makes you happy and who you are as a person. You’ll get there.
You may feel like your loss is overwhelming but remember, there’s no timeframe on your grief – you need to feel what you need to feel, even if it is a wide range of emotions which at times can leave you confused, hurt or angry. Remember to take some positive steps to look after yourself and your wellbeing (as much as possible), as it may help you to better process what you’re going through. And please don’t feel as though you have to go through this alone – there is support available to you, including Coles’ own bereavement support Hub and counselling services. Contact us today to find out how we can help: 02922093388/ firstname.lastname@example.org