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Supporting Yourself

Grief is often far from straightforward. Not everyone experiences sadness after a loss, but many other emotions including guilt, panic, fear, self-pity and even anger towards the person they have lost.

Many people also experience a loss of confidence or an inability to cope, and feel they need to hide this. But this too is part of grief and it’s important that you share your feelings with a supportive listener. You may feel convinced that your friends are avoiding you. Unfortunately this often happens and is probably due to embarrassment – ‘not knowing what to say’. It may be up to you to take the first step to let them know you need their support.

Wanting to run away Bereavement is a time of very painful and confusing emotions, but you need to experience them in order to begin to build your life again. It is often very tempting to make major changes to your life, for example, moving house or disposing of possessions. However, it may be more helpful to take time to weigh up these decisions, to avoid future regrets about having acted too hastily.

Overcoming isolation As well as feeling emotional pain, it is not uncommon to feel physically run down. You may find it difficult to eat, sleep or concentrate. Eventually these symptoms will ease. Only if they persist for a long time should you be concerned and seek the support of your doctor. Grief is a very individual process and you will have your own unique experience, so don’t feel abnormal if your feelings do not follow the pattern outlined above. Equally, it is a very isolating process – it feels as if no one else could possibly understand. It may help you to remember that millions of others have gone through this very difficult experience – and have survived.

Practical steps to take care of your needs

  • Drink water to avoid dehydration which can give you headaches.

  • Eat small regular meals and have healthy snacks like fruit, seeds or nuts available.

  • Get outside in daylight and head for green spaces.

  • Connect with others and identify people you feel safe with and supported by.

  • Take naps when you can. Insomnia is draining and napping can help to top up on lost sleep and may feel less daunting than trying to sleep through the night.

  • Listen to your body's needs and don't push yourself to do things before you are ready.

  • Understanding you can say ‘NO’ when you want to.

What do I need right now?

Abraham Maslow introduced the concept of a hierarchy of needs which can serve as a helpful reminder after a loss when it may feel difficult to know what you need.


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