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A gentle guide to self-care after loss: The E.A.S.T. approach

Helping you connect with healthy routines to give you a greater sense of balance, wellbeing and mental resilience while grieving.
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Experiencing a significant loss can leave us feeling disoriented, especially when it comes to maintaining our well-being. Despite having once found solace and joy in positive routines, grief can disrupt our sense of normalcy. However, it’s possible to reconnect with these routines gradually, taking one step at a time until they become a source of comfort again. 

What is E.A.S.T?

The E.A.S.T. self-care guide offers a pathway to re-establishing healthy and positive routines, fostering a sense of balance, well-being, and mental resilience during times of grief. 

The key to this approach is consistency. By committing to these steps each day for a week, you may notice positive changes unfolding in your life. With time, these practices can lead to shifts in your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. 

Eating

During periods of grief, maintaining a regular eating schedule can be challenging. Prioritising nutritious meals and staying hydrated can support your overall well-being. Limiting consumption of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine—especially before bedtime—can also promote better sleep

Tips and ideas: 

  1. Keep healthy snacks readily available, such as fruit, nuts, or yogurt, to curb cravings and maintain energy levels throughout the day. 
  1. Experiment with soothing herbal teas or infused water to increase hydration and provide a comforting ritual. 
  1. Prepare balanced meals in advance and freeze portions for easy access on days when cooking feels overwhelming. 

Activities

Revisiting activities you once enjoyed can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, whether it’s a walk, yoga, or another form of exercise. Set aside time for hobbies, reading, or exploring new interests that bring you joy. 

Tips and ideas: 

  1. Take a leisurely stroll in nature, focusing on the sights, sounds, and sensations around you.  
  1. Dedicate time to creative pursuits like painting, gardening, or playing a musical instrument as a form of self-expression and relaxation. 
  1. Join a community class or workshop to learn a new skill or craft, fostering personal growth and connection with others. 
  1. Enjoy gentle exercise with a pet: Take your dog for a stroll around the neighborhood or play fetch in the backyard. The companionship of your furry friend can uplift your spirits while engaging in light physical activity benefits both you and your pet’s well-being. 

Sleeping

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it’s time to unwind. Consider incorporating calming activities like reading or listening to soothing music before bed. Techniques such as meditation or journaling can help ease racing thoughts and promote restful sleep. 

Tips and ideas: 

  1. Create a tranquil sleep environment by dimming lights, minimising noise, and using comfortable bedding to enhance relaxation. 
  1. Practice deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation to release tension and prepare your body for sleep. 
  1. Use aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender or chamomile to create a sense of calm and promote sleep onset. 
  1. Limit screen time before bed, opting for gentle stretching or gentle yoga poses to unwind both the body and mind. 

Related: Rest and Relaxation Techniques

You may also like our 3-step guide to dealing with insomnia.

Time

Make space in your schedule for social connections and activities that bring you happiness. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, joining a support group, or pursuing a hobby, nurturing these connections can provide a sense of belonging and hope during difficult times. 

Tips and ideas: 

  1. Arrange regular outings or virtual meetups with friends or family members for shared experiences and emotional support. 
  1. Attend a grief support group or counseling sessions to connect with others who understand your experience and offer empathy and encouragement. 
  1. Participate in community events or volunteer opportunities to foster a sense of purpose and belonging beyond personal loss. 
  1. Dedicate time for self-care rituals like baths, massages, or mindfulness practices to nourish your spirit and recharge your energy. 

The E.A.S.T. self-care approach offers a gentle path to reconnecting with yourself and fostering resilience in the face of loss. By prioritizing your physical, emotional, and social well-being, you can navigate through grief with greater ease and find moments of comfort and strength along the way. Remember, even in the midst of sorrow, you are capable of nurturing your own healing journey. 

Whatever the situation, you can also reach out to a grief counsellor or a Griefline Helpline support person to work with you on what you have experienced in the past or are presently experiencing. You can also tap into the Griefline Online Forums for peer-to-peer support and understanding.

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