When someone you care about is experiencing grief and loss, it can be difficult to know how to support them.

Tools for rest and relaxation

Experiencing grief, loss or associated trauma can greatly impact our emotional and mental state. Often this can include trouble sleeping or simply trouble switching off and allowing our minds and bodies to properly rest, relax and recover. Not being able to properly sleep and rest is not only frustrating, it can also impact your immune system, mood and ability to handle everyday tasks.
If you are struggling with sleep, click here to learn more about how grief and loss can affect your sleep and find a three step process to improve your sleeping patterns. The tools below will help you when you are trying to calm your mind and body, whether you are preparing for sleep or simply looking to rest and relax through the day.

Sleep stories

Sometimes closing your eyes and concentrating on a simple, calming story can help to distract you from what is causing you stress and anxiety. Stories read at a slow pace, with a gentle voice, can hold the mind’s attention without introducing any fear or tension. It’s important that the narrative is simple, without too much excitement.
 
Here’s a list of playlists and podcasts from popular subscription platforms such as Calm and Spotify to get you inspired:
 
Spotify Sleep Playlist
Spotify Sleep Cover Podcast
Spotify Get Sleepy Podcast
 
Calm app currently offer a range of free sleep stories on YouTube, including:
 
 

Reflecting on positive experiences

This exercise focuses on a time in your life where you felt happy, content, relaxed and safe. When we revisit these feelings it can induce muscle relaxation and even trigger sleep. 
You’ll need to find a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position, and listen to the exercise below. Don’t worry if you find your mind wandering, this is to be expected the first few times you try, just gently bring yourself back to the beginning of the exercise and start again. It might feel frustrating to have to start again, but be aware that frustration can make your body even tenser. Simply acknowledge the frustration, know that it will pass, and refocus on the exercise with a goal of letting go any tension you feel.
Practice this technique as many times as you require during the day until you remember all the steps. Once you remember all the steps, you can start using the technique as soon as you are in bed and ready to go to sleep.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been practiced for centuries as a tool that can help with depression, anxiety, smoking, overeating, self-esteem, chronic pain and grief. Mindfulness allows you to stay present, make space for the emotions you are feeling, and appreciate yourself and the world around you. 
 
Mindfulness practices often include mindful breathing, where you focus your attention on where your breath enters and exits your body to calm the mind and alleviate tension. Themes of gratitude and loving kindness are common in mindfulness, encouraging self-acceptance and critical thinking through journaling and meditation.
 
Visit the Griefline Mindfulness for Grief page to learn how you can use mindfulness practices to help manage and process your grief.
 

The EAST approach

Eating: ensure you eat regularly and healthily, increase your water intake during the day and limit alcohol and other illicit drugs.

Activities: restart activities, which you enjoyed before this loss, including some type of exercise.

Sleeping: ensure that you go to bed at a regular time every night (your preferred time before the loss) and avoid consuming sugary foods, a large meal or alcohol/illicit drugs at least two hours before sleep.

Time: spend time with trusted friends and family and consider reaching out to a counsellor or the Griefline helpline service to work with you on your experience of loss.

 

Be kind to yourself

Practicing self care can help you reduce stress, anxiety and negative emotions, while also taking care of your physical body as you heal.

Download our Self Care Tips infographic and keep it with you – or share it with a friend who you think may benefit from these strategies.