When I began my grief journey I didn’t realize what self-care was much less self-compassion, I quickly realized that I had no idea how to care for myself while having fallen apart. I also realized that I was my own worst enemy. I treated myself worse than I would someone that I had no feelings for.
Throughout my grief journey I realized that self-care and more important self-compassion was a necessity, I knew I had to get it together within myself in order to heal and to start to grow.
BUT because I was not practicing daily or even monthly acts of self-care and self-compassion, instead of emotions coming out- this would turn into melt downs, breakdowns and feeling hopeless most of the time.
Throughout those times, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get through my grieving, instead I chose to figure out ways to incorporate self-care and self-compassion in my daily (yes, daily) life.
Over the past couple of years I learned ways to practice self-care and self-compassion- I have created a list for you, I hope this list serves you to practice self-care and self-compassion.
Here is the 10 practices for self-care and self-compassion (the order doesn’t matter but if you try all 10 practices every single day- because consistency is key in creating a space within yourself to heal:
1). Being Gentle with Yourself- Yes, yes anyone who knows me knows this is my mantra – it’s so true and imperative anytime you are experiencing pain and grieving or actually any type of discomfort.
To be gentle with yourself, is to allow yourself to be- is to allow yourself to stop and breathe – is to understand that this pain had knocked you out of your “normal” routine – you cannot function at the capacity prior to losing what you cannot replace- understand that and be gentle with you.
2). Allow Yourself to Feel– yup you got to feel- whatever emotion it is that you are feeling. You cannot stuff it, you cannot struggle with it – you have to allow yourself to feel. For a really long time I thought if I suppressed my feelings it would heal me- so I pretended to be OK. I avoided the truth of my grief, I kept think if I ignore this- if I act like I am still in shock, I won’t have to feel. But the kindest act you can do for yourself is allow yourself to feel.
3) Go outside- get out in the sun -even for 15 minutes but go outside and feel the sun on your skin, allow yourself to sit and be outside- listen to the sounds, look around and see what God has created- allow yourself to be present in the moment of outside and this will lead you to practice #4
4). Move– Now this practice has been extremely difficult for me but this past April, I got a Fitbit that helped me to get motivated to move- Moving can be walking- moving can be dancing – but when you move, you will motivate your mind to find some normalcy when your heart is broken and you can’t think straight. Try 2 minute increments- try to move around for 2 minutes at a time and go from there.
5). Write it Down– create a journal on your phone or go out and purchase a journal or notebook and writ it down- what do I mean, you may be asking? I mean write down those thoughts, that pain, that hurt- create a documentation of that pain and grief, I go back through my journal daily and it helps me to know that I have made progress and that I am making it through. We all need reassurance that we are making progress, the reminder that pain isn’t forever- try it.
6). Prayer and Meditation – I know you’ve heard this before but I want to explain what prayer and meditation a done for me (yes, I do both). I recommend that you create a prayer list- asking God for what you need and creating a list as simple or as complicated that you want it to be and at the top of the list, I want to encourage you to ask the following: “I ask that you reassure me that everything is going to be ok”. When you ask for this – it will remind you that faith and hope are always present. The way that I incorporate meditation- is I started meditating for 1 minute at a time then another minute and so on. Meditation allows me to listen to the response God has to my prayers. I encourage you to try it.
7). A Little Help From your Friends– I felt like no one absolutely no one understood my grief and then I realized I cannot get through my grief all by myself. I remember I found Gabby Bernstein on YouTube and I devoured all of her content- she became my friend in my head, and her content is a big part of why I do what I do today, I also found comfort from a few Facebook friends and I have an incredible cousin and a couple of lifelong friends that sat with me on the phone or at the movies and just showed up. It was when I began my journey of After Chloe that I found an incredible community and then I met the Bopos (Susie, Kathy, Crystal, Nick, Stephanie, Becky and Alisa) – they are a group of individuals who have stood by me through laughter, tears and everything in between, find those friends who can listen, who can cry with you and who will love you without condition. And even though you may believe you won’t ever have a tribe or a friend that is there no matter what- go back to practice #6 and ask for it- remember if you ask you will receive.
8). Get up and Get Dressed – I refused to wear makeup, to comb my hair- I believed it was a betrayal to my loss, and then one day I realized life kept going without me and either I had to get it together or I wouldn’t survive my grief. So many days I get up and get dressed- make up, earrings and comb my hair.. not because I want to but because I am gifted this life- I can still show up for life and live the best life I can while honoring the love that remains, we cannot betray our loved ones or our loss.. It’s a mind trick that getting up and getting dressed proves wrong. Even if you have to fake it- try it.
9). Stay in the Love and Live – as I mention in practice 8- we believe by living we are betraying the loss or the loved one we lost. But the truth is that living is the greatest honor we can pay what we have lost, by remaining in the love and the living doesn’t mean we forget or we get over it means we choose to make the most of the life we have been given.
10). The Most Important Practice: Thank yourself and thers– yes good ole gratitude – be thankful for your life be thankful for the lessons be thankful for all of it. When we practice gratitude then we can proceed- you will proceed your process, your timeline but you will absolutely make it through- take one step, take two steps – you do it your way, your timing. But I want you to remember there is absolutely only one you- so be thankful for that. I want you to remember the love- not the loss, I want you to remember how you felt when you were engulfed in that love- be thankful for it. I want to tell you, life goes by so, so quickly – don’t waste it being upset, don’t waste it without forgiving yourself and others… go and live and be thankful for yourself and others. Your whole life can change.
I hope this list will help you, will assist you through the hardest time of your life. I want to remind you that it will be OK – maybe not the same but it will be OK. I want to remind you that its ok not to be ok, I want to remind you that you are brave and incredible. I am sending you infinite love and grace.
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