Better Self-Care for a Better Transition After Loss

By Brad Krause

Better Self-Care for a Better Transition After Loss: Dr. Virginia Simpson Bereavement Care Specialist

You’re okay. It may not seem that way right now, but you are. Grief and all the emotions that come with losing someone will keep you from seeing it, but you’re reading this, that’s one step closer to being even more okay.

After your loss, it will probably take a while before you sift through all of your emotions. In the meantime, self-care can help get you to a better place quicker — and, most importantly, help keep you there.

Self-Care is Not Spoiling Yourself

Before you get busy making appointments with spas or local golf clubs, it’s important that you recognize self-care goes beyond an occasional splurge. Self-care has been glamorized and made out to be something it’s not, with many people opting for treats and fleeting wellness or happiness.

In reality, self-care involves doing whatever is necessary to maintain and enhance your overall health. Your body’s physical and mental well-being are tied together, so that means even the basic act of getting enough sleep each night is an aspect of self-care.

Don’t Get Down on Yourself Over Slacking on Self-Care

There are times when some of the self-care basics can be overlooked. However, you owe yourself the time to commit to self-care, so that you can get through the process of mourning your loss in the healthiest way possible.

Don’t add to your own stress by clocking your sleep times and getting upset when they don’t fall within the recommended number of hours. Adding stress onto the grief you feel is not what self-care should amount to. A few sleepless nights will not destroy your overall well-being, as long as you’re taking care of yourself in other ways.

Tackle the 5 Areas of Self-Care

After you lose someone, you develop a sort of tunnel vision getting through each day. Your life becomes a routine of coping, feeling everything and taking it step-by-step until the pain lessens and you can deviate from the routine you fell into.

To accelerate out of the tunnel and toward improving your overall health, look to practicing self-care. According to, self-care can be broken down into the five types below:

  •     Physical – Sleep, diet, medication, exercise
  •     Social – Relationships with friends and family
  •     Mental – Stimulation and activity
  •     Spiritual – Fulfilling beliefs and values
  •     Emotional – Processing emotions

Note which areas of self-care you need to improve upon, and try some easy strategies to work them into your everyday routine.

Get Into Action

Some self-care practices are simple to do, like going for a walk around the block. This gives you a chance to catch some Vitamin D for physical self-care, and time in nature can help you feel better.

Other actions are a bit more nuanced. Take your diet, for example. It’s common for your weight to fluctuate throughout the grieving process, but a healthier gut will lead to a healthier you. You can support your gut by adding beneficial microbes to it. These include Akkermansia, which can help rev up your metabolism, leading to a healthier weight. Another healthy microbe is Bifidobacteria, which helps to prevent bad bacteria from damaging the intestinal lining.

Adding foods with high amounts of probiotics like tempeh, miso, and yogurt will help your gut achieve healthier levels and, thus, contribute to improved overall health. Go as much in-depth as you’d like when it comes to your self-care, even if it’s all the way down to the microbial level.

Take Care of Yourself

While it’s hard to think about the future without a loved one, prioritizing self-care will ensure you improve your own health along the way. It can even serve as a healthy distraction at a time when you need to take a mental break; take a few minutes to go over the five self-care types, and make a list of goals to accomplish in the upcoming week. For now, okay is just fine, but you will feel great again.