Short and sweet piece today, because I know how challenging daily life can be when you’re feeling down and I want to make this as easy as possible for you. It can be really hard to feel good when you’re grieving, and difficult to find the joy when you’re down. So here are simple and accessible ways on how to look after yourself when you’re grieving (or feeling down).
On the 5th November, it’s the three year anniversary of my Dad’s death.
He was 54 and died unexpectedly but was a spectacular man. He left magic everywhere he went and was as colourful as they come. He loved cowboy boots and cowboy hats and called his male co-workers petal and darling.
He spent his days working hard in pharmaceutical marketing and left a fabulous legacy chasing his dreams of creating a movie and after getting an impressive investment, he left this world on the 5th November. His favourite celebration was fireworks so of course it was fitting that the universe chose to give him an epic send-off on the day he chose to leave.
It changed everything for me. My life now feels darker, it feels harder and I think more deeply. I also feel more grateful, more loving and I’m able to take risks and live life as much as I can.
It’s a difficult and challenging combination to live with but I’m living with it well. And it’s all because I’ve learnt how to look after myself when I’m feeling down.
How to look after yourself when you’re grieving (or feeling down)
It’s important that we look after every part of us. Mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take long but it does need to happen as regularly as possible in order to still feel joy within the dark.
Have a quick read, pick what feels most accessible for you and give it a go.
Ask yourself some questions like this: ‘What do I want?’ ‘What do I want to do with my time?’. Take some time to think about it and play around with it. Even if it’s as simple as I want to make a cup of tea or I’d like to open my curtains it’s a very important start.
Show yourself some compassion. Whenever a thought pops into your head that doesn’t make you feel instantly good, forgive yourself. A phrase like the following helps to shift things back again.
‘I lovingly forgive myself for the misunderstanding that I think I’m not pretty and loveable. The truth is I am pretty, I am loveable, and I’m learning to love myself’
Do something nice for yourself every day. Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, do a jigsaw puzzle, have some wine. Do whatever brings you a little bit of happiness every single day.
Write down everything you’re feeling. Start with a main word like ‘sadness’ and then continue to describe what that means and how it feels.
Find someone who has been through it too. I’m fortunate that both my sister-in-law and good friend both lost their parents some years ago so have already experienced the hardest part of their grief. Talking to them massively helped, and it will help you too. Find someone that has come out of the other end of a darkness and talk with them.
Remember your friendships may change. I found that just after my Dad died, no-one wanted to talk about it and that’s all I wanted to do. I’d bring it up and the mood would instantly change. Your friends don’t want you to feel any worse, and we have this perception that talking about it will do that. You might find that your friendships alter a little because people don’t know how to act around you. Be patient and explain to them how you’re feeling.
Make yourself a beautiful ritual. Each morning (well from about a year after my Dad’s death), I started with a little morning ‘prayer’. I’d say in my mind ‘Dad, Universe, Spirit Guides and Angels, I’d like to feel happy today’. And then I’d say thank you. I’d change the word daily and it helped me to feel connected.
Ask questions. Whenever I’m feeling a bit stuck or lost, I’ll ask out loud what I should do. Almost immediately I’ll get a feeling or sense and like to think it’s because I’m being guided. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference if you relax into it and believe.
Above all, have patience with yourself and allow yourself to go up and down. Accept the emotions you’re feeling and try to make peace with the fact that you won’t go ‘back to who you were’. You are who you are in this moment and that’s all there ever is.
Love to you.
And continue to look after yourself with all my Leading Ladies over in Yoga LIVE. We’re all together with our very own challenges, and our monthly challenges help us to keep the motivation up. Join us here for $10 a month and get your 2-week free trial. You’re totally capable of finding the joy in the grief and I can’t wait to see you blossom. Join Yoga LIVE here.