Why is self care important after bereavement... Life goes on, even if at this moment it seems impossible to you.
You want to be alone, not to see anyone.... You just want to cry and lock yourself in your world staring at the ceiling and screaming... but why me?
These things are very normal, I have tried them myself on my skin, several times...
What can we do to get our life back in hand? Even if he's gone?
Think about yourself
I know this title may seem selfish... Yet we spend the years helping so many people and we have always put ourselves in the last place... or am I wrong?
- You have worked for years for your employer
- You have always helped your relatives in times of difficulty
- You have looked after your children first, and now you look after your grandchildren
- You pamper your husband by making him find the house clean, the linen tidy and washed and ironed
- You have given all the love possible to your pet and many others you have had over the years
Is there anyone thinking of you?
Surely everyone loves you… Yet you feel that you are missing something.
Something that only you can give yourself... This is nothing but time for yourself.
Withdrawing into your self care during a bereavement
Let's make one thing clear: self care is not selfish. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Self-care has a number of health benefits, including boosting the immune system and energy levels.
It also strengthens your emotional health, reduces the risk of burnout, and makes you more resilient in the face of setbacks.
This means that when you start taking care of yourself, you are more able to take care of others as well.
But I would more like you to focus on your emotional health: because emotions are our center of gravity, and since in bereavement they are really put to the test, we must work on them and find those activities or habits that make us feel good.
A reflection to find yourself
I will reveal to you something that turned my life around when I had to face the loss of Argo: What hurts us is not anger, sadness, disappointment or negative thoughts... What creates suffering is the fact of judging these emotions as inappropriate.
That judgment for which you are led to think "it is not right that I feel anger", "it is not good that I am suffering", "it is not normal that I think certain things"... and so on...
All this leads you to suffocate what happens in your inner world to reject it by starting a relentless fight.
It is this struggle that wears you out, makes you suffer.
“What you resist persists. What you accept can be changed. ” CG Jung
Stop the wrong questions. You will avoid tormenting yourself.
We begin to ask ourselves why me? What did I do wrong? Why did this happen to me? So we want to investigate, search, dig, dig and dig… but it won't do any good, just to tire you out and find yourself in an ever deeper hole.
This happens because we are victims of a false belief: thinking that knowing the causes that created grief helps to solve it. But it is precisely the search for causes that moves away from emotional healing, and from acceptance.
How to find yourself again after bereavement
Do you remember the visualization exercise that I proposed in this article How to cultivate positive emotions?
(If you don't remember it, go read it and then come back here....)
Here I propose an exercise that I call "life-saving thinking". I called it that because in the whirlwind of emotions, we risk drowning... And only the life-saving thought can help us emerge.
Whenever you find that you are asking yourself all those negative questions, and you are looking for or mulling over the causes; every time you catch yourself talking about it to let off steam; whenever you just think about it..
You can keep doing it if it's stronger than you...
But in the meantime, think that while you are doing it, in that same instant, you are watering the plant of your problem.
Don't worry now about stopping that behavior, if you happen to repeat it, avoid making the mistake of blaming yourself.
On the contrary, you should be satisfied that you have noticed, it means that your awareness is expanding. You are spotting plants that are dangerous for your garden, it is already a great step!
You will also have the opportunity to check, for example immediately after complaining, that you have the illusory sensation of feeling better, that you have discharged the tension (because you have emptied your watering can) but you can also verify that that feeling will not last long.
If you water the plant that is infesting your garden you will make it stronger and more luxuriant and it will be more and more difficult, tomorrow, to get rid of it.
The same goes for suffering, you risk making it grow if you continue to feed it by watering it with automatic thoughts and actions (which until now have not allowed you to solve).
For now, your first goal is to realize that you are doing it. You will find out what happens without your effort. You will feel like you always have a magic wand with you. If you practice this mental exercise every time your life could really change...
And you can start seeing a crystal clear sky, where there was a storm before
I know you are asking yourself "but if I don't vent I will explode, I'm sick". Of course, that doesn't mean you won't have to vent your emotions.
You know very well that repressing them gets you nowhere... except to pretend that everything is fine, even if inside you are damn bad.
There is a way to consciously vent emotions: Keep an emotional journal.
Whenever you feel bad, write your emotions in that diary... and after venting those emotions you will feel better... I assure you!
Maybe you can try and let me know.