Self-care advice for grief
The sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will affect us all in different ways. You might be experiencing feelings of grief, or it might bring up old feelings of grief.
If you’re struggling, here are four self-care tips to help you cope with these difficult feelings.
1. Understand the grief process
Grief can be exhausting and painful. It’s helpful to familiarise with the following to help you process your feelings:
- Take each day at a time: some days may be harder than others and that’s normal
- Developing coping strategies that work for you
- Making a memory box to prompt happy memories of those we have lost and help lift mood
- Take note of triggers so that you learn how to better cope once they happen. Some use a mood diary such as Mood Panda to track changes in mood.
2. Connect with others
This could be:
- Letting others know how you feel by talking to those who care about you
- Seeking support: take a look at our Support for you page to see how we can help you at this time
- Try peer support: Mind in Bradford has a range of wellbeing groups you can join to talk to others and feel less alone.
3. Talk to a therapist
Talking to a specialist grief counsellor may be appropriate and could help you with:
- Understanding the grieving process
- Identifying and expressing your feelings relating to the loss
- Exploring ways of coping
- Moving towards acceptance
- Coping with birthdays and anniversaries of the loss.
4. Look after your wellbeing
Loss can make us feel like our lives have been disrupted and may, in turn, disrupt sleep or lead to a reliance of substances such as drugs or alcohol to numb difficult feelings.
Try eating healthily, getting enough sleep and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
How volunteering as a befriender helped Paul with feelings of grief
“I made several attempts to find a suitable opening line to talk about my experience of befriending and to encourage others to become a befriender. All attempts proved fruitless and an empty computer screen remained, but then came the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and it took me back to when I lost two close members of the family within 18 months.
“At the time my mental health was already crumbling, and consequently it broke me completely. The time to heal and repair was long and slow. Help would be a welcome friend, a friend that would eventually lead me to Mind in Bradford as a volunteer befriender – a role that involves speaking and listening to those who are incredibly lonely, isolated and have nobody in their lives to speak to – no friends, no family, no love. Nothing.
“Being part of the Mind in Bradford team helped me get through a period of change with a more positive outlook. In some aspects, the volunteering helped me, but the client came first. It was about them, not me. I would often be the only person they spoke to from week to week. “Ask and listen,” I told myself before each call, and as that relationship developed it became easier. The relief in their voice was almost tangible however brief or lengthy the conversation.
“The support I had from Mind in Bradford over those two years played a major role in me helping those clients, to try to help or encourage them to make a better life from themselves. Not once was I let down by Donna, the volunteer coordinator, or the rest of the team – their efforts were equal to mine with the clients. It’s a team pulling together to help all as one.”
Posted on: 14th September 2022