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Helping Yourself Through Grief

BASIC HEALTH CONCERNS - Grief is exhausting and it is important to continue your daily health routines.

  • Try to eat regular, nourishing meals. If it is too difficult to eat three regular meals, try 4 or 5 small ones. Have nourishing food available to nibble on rather than chips and candy.
  • Rest is important. Try to develop regular bedtime routines. If you are having a hard time getting to sleep, try a glass of warm milk or some soft easy listening music to soothe your thoughts.
  • Continue your exercise program and develop a manageable routine.
  • Meditation, perhaps in the form of prayer or yoga, can help you get the rest you need.
  • Make sure your family doctor knows what has happened so he or she can help monitor you health.

OUTSIDE SUPPORT - Grief does not have to be as isolating as it seems.

  • Look for a support group, lecture or seminar that pertains to your situation.
  • Continue attending church or religious services and stay in contact with this "family" if that has been a source of support to you.
  • Let your friends and other family members know what your emotional or physical needs are. The more they know what to do to help you, the more available they will be.


  • Read books or articles on the process of grief so you can identify what you are feeling and have some ideas on how to help yourself.
  • Allow your feelings to be expressed appropriately.
  • Crying is good. You feel lighter after you have had a good cry. Consider sharing your tears with other loved ones. We laugh together, why not cry together as well?
  • Find friends or family members to share your feelings with.
  • Be careful not to use alcohol, drugs or tranquilizers. These will only mask the pain and could lead to problems.
  • Keeping a journal is a good way to identify feelings and also to see progress.
  • Holidays and anniversaries need special planning. They are impossible to ignore. Look for a workshop on dealing with the holidays and make plans with your family and friends.


  • If you desire some alone time, take it as often as you need to.
  • Give yourself rewards along the way as something to look forward to.
  • Look for small ways to pamper yourself, such as bubble baths, a new cologne, soft pajamas or a new haircut.
  • A short trip can be a good break from grief, but be aware that upon your return, the pain of grief will be waiting for you. However, you will have had a rest and the knowledge that you can enjoy some things in life again.
  • Look for some new interests, perhaps a new hobby or resuming an old one.
  • Carry a special letter, poem, or quote with you to read when the going gets tough.
  • Try to enjoy the good days and don't feel guilty for doing so.
  • Reach out to help someone else.
  • Learn to have patience with yourself. Remember, grief takes time.
  • Know that you WILL get better and there WILL be a time when you can look forward to getting up in the morning and be glad you are alive.

Originally published by American Hospice Foundation © 2002 and reprinted with permission from the American Hospice Foundation.  All Rights Reserved.
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For more information or to discuss life transition concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.

In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.

This content was last modified on: 08/26/2008

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