Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can is learn to swim.
Last Tuesday, I lost an important person in my life, my grandmother. While she hasn’t been in her right mind for years, at one point, she was my godsend…
A few years after my mother died, my grandma came to live with us. While there was certainly tension there (bringing another matriarch into a family), she was an important part of my upbringing. Since my father worked constantly, Grandma was my caretaker when he was gone. She took care of us, kept us well fed (even taking us out to eat twice a day), spoiled us rotten and helped us find our lost belongings by praying to St. Anthony.
Losing a person who helped mold me is difficult. When I’m not upset about her, the stress of it all comes out subconsciously through my anxiety sending me in a whirlwind of fear and obsession, scared of dying and obsessed with cleaning.
Here’s 10 things I’ve learned to do to decrease the amount of stress and anxiety when grieving:
- Watch feel-good movies. If you’ve ever read my blog, then you know just how much I love feel-good movies. They can really take that frown and turn it upside down. Corny, I know – but true. You can check out some of my favorite feel-good movies here.
- Treat Yo Self. If you’ve ever seen Parks and Recreation, then you’ll understand the reference. When you’re feeling blue, do something for yourself. Whether it’s emerging yourself in a new book, getting a pedicure or indulging in your sweet tooth, it makes you a little happier. Now, I’m not saying go out and buy a Ferrari, just do little things to make you happy.
- Take your mind off of it. You can do this by cleaning the house (like I do), putting in a few extra hours at the office, completing some of those projects you’ve had on your to-do list or simply talking with your significant other.
- Go to a counselor. I love nothing more than talking to someone. While I know this isn’t for everyone, it helps me organize my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes just getting it off your chest is a big relief.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Start producing those endorphins known to make you happier or calmer or whatever your body needs at the time. My two favorite workouts are swimming and yoga. They’re a great way to calm the nerves.
- Volunteer. Instead of sitting around wallowing in your sadness, go help someone else. Taking care of someone else gives you purpose, puts you in a better mood and helps make the world a better place.
- Surround yourself with people who love you. Sometimes all it takes to put yourself in a better mood is a kiss from your significant other or a cuddle with your fur baby. Just being around people who love you makes things better.
- Allow yourself to be sad. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours a day crying hysterically. It means give yourself 30 minutes to reminisce about that person even if it makes you cry. Take 10 minutes to look through old pictures and miss that person.
- Eat good food. It doesn’t have to be unhealthy, but it just needs to be good! Food is my world (which is horrible for someone trying to lose weight). Eating my favorite comfort foods like zebra cakes, Snickers or pasta salad makes me happy.
- Go outside. Go into nature and realize just what a beautiful world this is. That while something horrible happened, there are good parts to this place. Feel the sunshine beating down on you on a walk or (if you’re like me) curl up and watch the thunderstorms from a porch.