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30 Tips for Self-Care Following a Bereavement

This year we mark our 30th anniversary year, and so our Counselling team thought it might be useful to share their top 30 tips for self-care following a bereavement.

When someone dies, we often wear ourselves out taking care of all the practical matters that have to be completed, but it is worth remembering that the emotional process of grieving is exhausting in itself.  Looking after yourself is vital and with this in mind, the following suggestions from our team of counsellors are designed to offer some practical ways in which you can make sure you take some time for yourself at a very difficult time in your life.

  • Go for a mindful walk – notice your steps on the ground, the sounds and sights of nature, stop to smell a flower or notice the warmth of the sun.
  • Phone an old friend who won’t judge you or expect you to be cheerful.
  • Go for a walk with friends or family.
  • If you work, scale back your hours or take a break.
  • Go to bed at your usual time, and get up at the usual time. Routine is important, but …
  • If you are tired, have a nap during the day.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals at the usual times of day, but …
  • Have an occasional treat.
  • Have a bubble bath or a soothing hot shower.
  • Make a plan to do something or go somewhere with a friend.
  • Every morning, write three pages of everything that comes into your head. Keep writing until you fill all three pages without your pen leaving the paper.
  • Visit someone who has a pet and spend time stroking or holding the animal.
  • Light a scented candle.
  • Watch something on TV which you normally consider a “guilty pleasure”, but permit yourself to not feel guilty.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Buy yourself some flowers or plant something new in the garden.
  • Make a cup of tea just the way you like it.
  • Stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes and smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fake smile, it will release endorphins and change the way you feel.
  • Hug someone.
  • Think of three things you like about yourself – it could be your personality, something positive you did, something about the way you look. Think of three new things every day.
  • Read a new book or magazine.
  • Wear your favourite jumper or T-shirt.
  • Listen to music, but not something that will trigger emotional thoughts.
  • Try a DIY facial or face mask.
  • Practice mindful breathing – breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of five and breathe out for a count of six.
  • Sit in the sun (but not for too long) and watch the clouds go by overhead.
  • Turn your phone off for an hour.
  • Have a fancy coffee from a coffee shop.
  • Join a support group.
  • Use counselling sessions to safely explore some of the emotions that you are experiencing.

 

If you would like to refer yourself for bereavement counselling at Peace Hospice Care, please contact Patient Services on 01923 330 332 or ptservices@peacehospicecare.org.uk for a self-referral form.