Self Care During Grief and Difficult Transitions

The last two years have been ones of change, transition, and loss. When we deal with a loss of a loved one or go through a major transition, there’s a lot going through our minds. The last thing we tend to consider is ensuring our own cups are full, and we end up putting ourselves last. Running on empty, especially during a life change, sets us up to run out of steam. This usually means that we’re not at our full capacity when we try to be there for our families. The idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first seems played out, but it’s because it’s based on truth. While we can’t stop everything going on in our lives, give yourself permission to take things slower and to pause while life is becoming difficult. You don’t need to have an hour-long morning or evening routine to get the benefits of taking time for yourself. These steps are meant to take just a few minutes per day in between the stuff you’re trying to get done.

Remember to Breathe

When we lose a loved one, it can feel like the rug has been ripped from underneath us. A lot of emotions come up: regret, fear, overwhelm, frustration. It’s helpful to have a practice that allows you to connect back into the sensations of your body and feel present in the moment.

One of the easiest things you can do for yourself is to take a few minutes out of your day to focus on your own breathing. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can have a lot of impact on your mood and stress levels.

For some options for breathing exercises check out this article. If you don’t feel like you have the time, you can do a few breaths in the car before going back into the house. Or while you’re in the shower. You may have to get creative when juggling caring for your responsibilities and other obligations but there are options. Breathing is such a simple, game-changing technique for grounding and relieving stress.

women taking a deep breath

Move Your Body

This one may be a bit harder to get started with, but moving your body is an excellent way to recharge and ease stress. Moving around gets us out of our head, releases feel-good endorphins, and gets our blood flowing. You can have music on while you clean and have an impromptu dance party. You can walk in your neighborhood or find a new and interesting path to explore. Another option is doing some sort of movement during your TV binging time.  This can be lifting weights, using an aerobic machine (if you already have one), or bodyweight exercises such as squats, crunches, or lunges. It can feel more manageable when you only have to move for the length of one episode of a show.

Committing to moving for just five or ten minutes in a day can help with the anxiety and overwhelm that can happen when we’re struggling. Even if you feel you don’t have time, it’s enough to move intentionally as you go about the flow of your daily life such as while putting away laundry or tending to your pets. You may have to get creative to build it into your day, but moving lifts your mood and gives you energy. It’s a wise investment of your time, the key is to get started.

bottom of sneakers

Take a Break

When we’re feeling overwhelmed, the first things that get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list are the items that feel like “nice to do,” but are actually important to our well-being.

This can be tasks such as baking, reading, or working on a craft/creative project. You can choose to make this a solo activity or involve the family. These small moments we tend to postpone are the experiences we look forward to the most. They are the memories that loved ones will hold onto for years.

Even when we take that little bit of time for ourselves, we’re much more refreshed and able to take on the concerns both in our everyday lives and the more intense challenges we face during difficult times.

reading a book with cofee

What's Next?

“Sassie’s New Home” is a book that’s meant to serve as a resource for families who are going through the loss of a pet. But while kids need extra support and guidance as they navigate this scary time, adults can also feel unexpectedly sad or overwhelmed.

Adults don’t always take the special care of ourselves that we do for everyone else around us. Many feel strange about taking a day off or they try to go about business as usual. It’s okay that you need time to rest and fill up your energy tank. You don’t have to push through, in fact, it’s better for everyone when you slow down and model making yourself a priority. It gives permission for others around us to do the same. Sometimes it takes reframing our own care as helping others to get us to make time and do the thing.

Do you have any other suggestions for ways to recharge when you’re struggling to find the time? Let us know and tag @sassiesnewhome on Facebook with your tips!

cover of sassies new home book
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