How can I take care of myself while I am grieving?

Here are some tips on how you can take care of yourself while you are grieving:
  • Eat well. Try to eat healthy foods. Avoid foods that supply mostly empty calories, like candy, chips, cookies and pastries. Drink plenty of fluids, and limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks. If you've lost your appetite, try simple comfort foods, such as soups, mashed potatoes with chicken or meatloaf, fruit and yogurt smoothies, puddings, pasta, or foods from your childhood or cultural background. Eating small portions frequently may help, too. Take a multivitamin to cover any nutrients your diet isn't currently supplying.
  • Take necessary medications. Grief makes you more vulnerable to illness. Keep taking your regular medicines. Not everyone needs to take an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, but these drugs can be lifesaving for some people. Talk with your doctor about this, if necessary.
  • Get the sleep you need. Grief is exhausting. Nap if you need to. Go to bed early if you can. If you're having trouble sleeping, try exercising more (but not too close to bedtime). Avoid drinking beverages containing caffeine after 2 p.m., and abstain from alcohol for at least two hours before bedtime. If this isn't sufficiently helpful, talk with your doctor. Sometimes, taking medication for a limited amount of time to help you sleep can help you cope better during the day.
  • Try to exercise every day. A simple walk, a bike ride, yoga, or a harder workout can ease agitation, anger, and depression. Exercise can serve as a distraction when you need a break from grief, or offer you time to meditate on your loss. Make a date with a friend to walk a few days a week. At home or in the office, take a break to do some stretching or stair walking.
  • Stop risky behavior. Dangerous coping strategies—such as drinking too much alcohol (more than one drink a day for women and two for men), abusing drugs, or engaging in impulsive or risky behavior—may blot out or numb pain temporarily. But they derail healthy grieving and can have other unwanted consequences. Substituting safer behaviors when these impulses arise—such as seeking solace with other caring people, praying, exercising, writing in a journal, or trying stress-relief techniques—will serve you better. If you are finding yourself drawn to risky behaviors, you may want to contact a grief counselor or mental health professional who can help you make healthier choices as you grieve.

Continue Learning about Grief & Emotional Health

Grief & Emotional Health

Grief & Emotional Health

Everyone feels loss at times, but when we lose a loved one, the feeling is deeper -- grief, a normal emotion. When feeling grief, it's best for your emotional health for you to stay in touch with family members who can provide sup...

port; make an effort to keep a regular schedule and eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise. Focus on taking care of yourself -- and if you're having trouble getting past your grief, see a therapist. With some gentle guidance, you can get on with your life -- and still enjoy your wonderful memories.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.