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Needs During Grief

1. Time
Time to be alone and time to be with others who will listen and not judge. There is no specific timetable to progress through stages of grief. Allow for one’s own pace. Gradually work at being in the here and now as time goes on.

2. Rest
Sleep patterns may be disturbed so you may need extra time for sleep. Grieving is exhausting and takes a lot of energy. Pace yourself. Plan for rests or naps throughout the day. Learn relaxation techniques.

3. Nutrition
Your appetite is likely to be effected. Watch out for danger foods or binges (ex. Chocolate, caffeine). Eat small, frequent meals if you’re having trouble eating. Drink those 6-8 glasses of water or more. Eat foods with protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables. Change the place and tie you eat if your old habits are too painful. Eat with family and friends when you can.

4. Exercise
Get exercise on a daily basis. It will help with sleep, appetite and attitude. Realize sometimes we regress and this is normal also.

5. Permission for regression
It doesn’t mean you are failing or “not working hard” or “not doing it right.” Growth is a matter of progressing, then regressing, and then progressing again. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to be human.

6. A caution on drugs and alcohol
Pills and alcohol have a way of helping to block the pain, but the pain will still be there to be dealt with later. Substances can prolong or delay the
grief process. We cannot avoid, prevent or cure grief. We must get through it. Besides, such substances will interfere with a return to normal sleep patterns and with proper nutrition.

7. Pamper yourself
Whatever is a small pleasure or favorite thing, indulge yourself. Contact with nature (sunsets, walks), medication, movies, restaurants, music, hot baths, massages, naps and pets can soothe you physically and emotionally.

8. Security
Getting into a routine helps. Plan your days and evenings. Reduce or find help or solutions to financial stresses, personal security issues, ect.

9. Caring
Allow yourself to accept the expressions of caring and offers of help from others. Finding a friend who has been through a similar loss may help you be able to relate and feel understood.

10. Hope
Be aware of others who have survived a similar loss and realize they have survived, that things do get better. Read stories of people who have survived a crisis.