Self-Care ideas for when you’re grieving

Jane shares some thoughts and ideas which have been used by people she’s supported over the years. 

“The grief that comes as a result of losing someone close to you may be the hardest thing you ever have to face but there is always something you can do to help yourself through the dark times.

Looking after yourself and practicing self-care when you’re feeling at your lowest can be incredibly difficult but it can also help you to process your grief and remember your loved one. 

Remember other difficult times you’ve had and how you managed them. Try to think about what works best for you and what gives you strength and a sense of purpose. While you didn’t have any control over the death of your loved one you can try to find a way of taking control of how you cope with your life now and in the future. 

Cherish your memories and keep them alive. Continuing to live your life doesn’t mean forgetting. It can mean keeping the connection to people and places you have loved alongside life now and in the future. Creating a memory box can be one way to cherish those memories.

Rest as grieving uses a lot of emotional energy and you may well feel very drained and exhausted at times. Grief isn’t an illness, however, it can have a huge impact on you, much like a bad illness or an operation. Be gentle with yourself, in time your energy will return. 

Try to eat. Many people find they lose their appetite and may unintentionally ignore their bodies. If this is the case, eat small, nourishing, easily digested snacks. It’s best to eat regularly even if you don’t feel like it.

Learn ways to distract yourself on the days you can’t face life like a good TV programme, a walk, cooking, meeting a friend for coffee, engrossing yourself in an interest like a movie, reading a book…something enjoyable that will take you out of yourself for a little while. 

Be creative in whatever way suits you, whether that’s writing a journal or a long letter or an email. Putting your thoughts on paper or on a computer is a good way of getting things straight in your mind. Or try something new like painting, drawing or gardening – something that helps you express your feelings or create something to help you remember.

Getting some exercise can be very helpful. You can often feel very physically tense and movement helps release this. Movement can also help you feel better by giving positive energy. This can be done by swimming, walking, yoga, the gym or perhaps day-to-day activities like walking to the shops, mowing the lawn, hoovering or walking the dog. 

Draw on your spirituality. This can be different for each one of us. For some people it will mean going to religious services, praying or meditating. For others it will be a walk on the beach or in the countryside, listening to birdsong or inspirational music…whatever brings you in touch with a different perspective and offers a bigger picture of life.


Further Information

Anyone whose loved one was cared for by the Martlets is very welcome to make contact with our Bereavement Service by calling 01273 273400 or emailing

Photo Credit: Philip Dunn