Self Help Activities for Coping with Grief
When dealing with grief, self help activities start with self care.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and grieving the loss of a loved one?
Have you become stuck in prolonged grief or complicated grief?
chances are you may not be taking adequate self care to maintain your
personal well being and physical and/or emotional health.
Positive self care strategies are essential and ongoing if we are to
live the lives we have been granted. See below for more on Self-Care.
About Self Help Activities
Self help activities when dealing with grief can include any strategy
or activity you participate in that supports healing.
You have already started the self help journey by searching for
information and coming to this page.
There will also most likely be a number of self help activities you
are already involved in. Do these support you? If not it may be time
to try a new activity or something you have always wanted to do or
Self Help Activities Include:
Listed below are the generally recommended self help activities
for grief healing as well as other activities people have reported as having helped when coping with grief and loss:
- Self Help Books – well, there are thousands of them. Stroll through
the internet, book shops or library. A good place to start is to go
to second hand book shops and charity stores.
Practice a high level of self-care
Write your grief journal – on reflection I found that keeping a
journal was one of the greatest supports for me when coping with
Get a Massage
Deal with conflict
Take up yoga
Take up or continue a sporting activity
Join a self help group
- Participate in regular physical exercise: walk, jog, swim,
Join a social club
Listen to music
Declare a relaxation day
Learn something new
Many activities could be considered as self help activities.
What interests you? What makes you happy? If
you cannot answer these questions at the moment, what are some things that
previously interested you or made you happy?
Benefits of Self Help Activities:
- Reduce reliance on others
Assist in coping with grief and healing
Promote joy (yes it is possible)
Increase sense of well being and satisfaction in taking positive
Create a greater self understanding
Broaden knowledge and learn something new
Make new friends and appreciate others
Become more than a survivor, you become an inspiration and role model
Self help activities are less expensive and more accessible than some
forms of therapy
Create your own plan and timetable that remains flexible according to
Maintain your privacy and independence, if that is important to you
Create an easier and more satisfying life
More on Self Care
Self-care is restoring and maintaining good physical and mental
health as well as preventing and managing illness.
When coping with the intense distress of grief and loss we may abandon aspects of our own
Have you lost the motivation, energy and will to maintain your
'normal' living routine and responsibilities?
Have you lost the very person who you relied on (or who relied on
you) to maintain a 'normal' living routine and responsibilities?
Self care is recovering and maintaining:
1. Good Physical Health -
- Good nutrition and healthy eating. A balanced diet and good food
Adequate exercise and physical activity
A good nights sleep
Appropriate medical attention and health monitoring
2. Good Mental and Emotional Health -
- Consult a Therapist or Mental health professional if and when needed
- Take responsibility and participate in activities such as meditation, relaxation, supportive
relationships, social support, managing stress, managing anger,
spirituality and practising gratitude.
3. Risk Avoidance -
- Be careful not to get caught up with drugs or alcohol. See your
health care professional if this is an issue for you.
Be aware of other possible addictions such as gambling, anger or
other potentially destructive behaviours. Again, see your health care
professional if this is an issue for you.
Weave self care habits into a program for your daily life. You do not
need to do it all at once. Take one step at a time.
Practising self-care is not an attempt to deny or minimise your grief
or pain. Self care gives you the opportunity to truly care for the
most significant person in your life – YOU.
There may be times you really need to brood, cry or isolate yourself
from others – do it. Then reflect and assess what is happening for you.
Monitoring your self-care will give you and understanding of what you can deal with and when you may need to enlist the support of a health care professional.
A five minute walk in the fresh air can
You will soon thank yourself for it.
- When overwhelmed by the sadness of coping with grief there are times
you may need professional therapy to get you through. Find the best
options available for you at these time.
- Self help activities, including a high level of self care creates a solid foundation for recovery from grief.
- If we incorporate a self care program into our daily lives we will gain tremendous health and wellness benefits for a life time.
- How Do You Feel; from This Way Up, developed by a team of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney
- Practise Self-Care: from International Self-Care Foundation (ISF), a registered UK Charity with global focus
- Self-Help: from Psychology Today