Small things can help regulate difficult emotions

Emotional self-care is a critical part of the healing process after the loss of a loved one, although this may look different for different people, as everyone has different emotional processes and needs. Being able to reflect on your own emotions can help improve your mental health, especially during this time that is painful and confusing. All of your emotions have a purpose. You feel different emotions for a reason, and processing them can not only help you heal but understand yourself a bit better too.

One big emotion that many people experience during grief is stress, and many people feel stress escalating in multiple areas of their lives. One healthy way to manage stress could be using mindfulness or meditation. For some, stress feels like your mind is barreling along on a never-ending train track. Practicing mindfulness could help stop that train or slow it down enough to give yourself some time to calm down and have more straightforward thoughts. 

Another helpful technique similar to mindfulness is taking time to relax each day. This may be easier said than done, as when your days are busy and stressful it can be difficult to find time to relax and wind down. But look for simple ways to relax. Maybe try to go on a short walk after you eat lunch or listen to your favorite music as you wind down from your day. Try pairing it with another activity to make it easier to do. For example, drive home from work with music on, or listen to music while cooking or eating dinner. 

Other emotions that accompany grief that can be overwhelming and hard to process include confusion, guilt, frustration, or worry. Positive self-care strategies could include taking a walk, cooking, cleaning, or taking deep breaths when you start to feel overwhelmed. Or, consider surrounding yourself with the emotion you would rather be feeling. For example, if you are feeling down and upset, try watching something on TV or social media that will make you laugh. Regulating your emotions doesn’t need to be anything complex…just discover what you know is best for you!