After losing a loved one, you may experience powerful and even paralyzing emotions of sadness, despair, and loneliness. You feel numb and unmotivated to join family and friends for previously enjoyed activities. Unfortunately, all these feelings are normal. Moving back toward feeling like your old self seems impossible at times, but you can take steps toward healing. Friends of Old Folkstone Cemetery want to share how.
The Sun’s Healing Properties
Just 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight a few times a week provides essential vitamin D to your body. This vitamin boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, and promotes cell growth. More importantly, when grieving, exposure to the sun improves your overall mood. Depression and anxiety after experiencing a loss improve with the increase of serotonin produced in your brain after being in the sun.
Begin a Gratitude Journal
It’s natural to turn inward and hold in strong feelings when grieving, but holding it all in harms your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, voicing these feelings is often difficult. Writing about them provides a way to express these strong emotions in your own personal space. Because it’s your private journal, you can write whatever you truly feel. Further, writing about what you’re grateful for elicits feelings of optimism and a more positive outlook.
You may ask how you can get up and exercise when you don’t even feel like getting out of bed to eat, shower, or work. Start slowly with a short daily walk outside. Look for parks with walking trails and hiking opportunities. If you don’t have a designated workout space at home, you can use virtually any room in your house to exercise. You can do wall sits on any open wall space big enough to lead against, or use your kitchen or bathroom counters for inclined push-ups. Exercising produces endorphins. These natural “feel good” chemicals improve your state of mind, allowing you to process your grief and pain with reflection and healing.
You will experience many emotions while you grieve, so it’s important to create a safe and peaceful place to process what you’re feeling. You may find that your home evokes loving, but painful, memories, so you may want to organise a smaller place within your house where you can sit and focus. Choose a spot near a window so that you can enjoy the natural lighting. Bring in some potted plants to take advantage of nature’s healing properties, too. You can use this pace to sit and think, to cry, to be angry, or event to meditate. Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions so that you can begin to heal.
After a loss, you may feel as if you can’t possibly socialize with friends and family. Sharing memories or simply answering questions about how you’re doing is difficult. It’s easy to grocery shop online and order takeout. This leaves little incentive to get out of the house. But being with others who have experienced a loss builds a sense of shared grief, which brings comfort. And if you work from home in this age of technology, try to find little ways to get out and socialize each day, even if it’s just a trip to your local coffee shop.
Honor Your Loved One
For many, making the first step toward healing means honoring their beloved with an event or activity in their memory. Ideas include volunteering at an animal shelter, running a 5K with sponsors and donating the funds to your loved one’s favorite charity, visiting residents of a nursing home, or making a meal for those confined to their homes. A meaningful evening scrapbooking old photos or making a T-shirt quilt from old shirts for younger family members keeps memories alive. Finally, a family night is a great way to pass on old stories to the next generation.
Nourish Your Soul
The suggestions listed above are but a few activities or tips that lead to healing after grief. But any action that feeds your soul, refreshes your spirit, or gets you moving helps leads to healthful healing after experiencing a great loss.
The Friends of Old Folkstone Cemetery understand the importance of mourning and remembering those who have passed. It is very important to find ways to grieve and honor your loved one, so that you can move forward with your life.