It takes work to go through a loss. Treating your pet loss grief as an opportunity to develop new levels of emotional intelligence will serve you better in the long run than living in denial. Using a mindfulness training app may be one way to achieve this end.
Keep yourself healthy: Physical self-care when dealing with pet grief
For many of us, taking care of our physical and emotional selves in the middle of pet grief is the last thing on our minds. Between the brain fog and the physical exhaustion that bereavement brings, sometimes it's a miracle we can get out of bed. Yet physical self-care is a key aspect of the healing process. We must tend to our bodily wellness in order to journey through the pain in a healthful way.
A solid self-care plan is what you need in order to reduce the stress of grief. Visiting your doctor for a check-up is a good idea when you’re faced with the loss of a furry family member, but there's plenty you can do on your own to address the physical symptoms of loss. The following strategies are a great place to start as you develop your own physical self-care checklist:
- Get Regular Exercise: This doesn’t have to be anything strenuous; a brisk walk is a great way to center yourself and reduce the stress of the grieving process.
- Treat Yourself Well: You should feel free to pamper yourself a bit after you lose a pet. Don’t go overboard, but indulge in some activities you genuinely enjoy with friends and loved ones.
- Pursue Relaxation: There are many ways to relax and enhance your physical wellbeing. You might enjoy a bath while burning aromatherapy candles, for instance. Have some hot chocolate and a bit of meditation while you’re at it.
- Engage in Deep Breathing: This is an ideal way to fight the stress and anxiety you feel when dealing with pet loss grief. Focus on nothing but your breath and feel calmness wash over you.
- Get Some Fresh Air: Spending time in nature is physically invigorating, and it also reminds you of the circle of life. This is a surprisingly comforting mindset to have in the wake of a much-loved pet’s passing.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: You need to eat at least one nourishing meal a day, even if your grief has robbed you of your appetite. You’ll have more energy and a better overall mood if you stick to a healthy diet.
- Get Plenty of Quality Sleep: This can also be difficult when you feel grief stricken after losing a pet. If you find it impossible to get the rest you need to function at a high level, we've got a few tips that will help.
- Take in the Sun: Resist the urge to spend most of your time indoors when you’re grieving. Low Vitamin D levels make you feel tired, so get out in the sun and give yourself an energy boost.
More than anything else, practicing self care means listening to your body as you go through the grieving process. If you feel the need to cry, sleep, or talk to someone about what you’re feeling, go ahead and do it. Give yourself time to do whatever you need to do in order to restore your physical and emotional wellbeing. With the right self-care plan, you can accelerate the healing process while honoring the memory of your loved one.
Image: Mathias Herbeim, Priscilla Du Preez
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Health Disclaimer: I’m passionate about wellbeing and health but I’m not a medical professional, nor am I a licensed therapist. Any content you read on this site is intended for inspiration and for information only – by not means am I providing medical advice. Please consult your certified professional for personalized recommendations on the mental health or physical health ideas I write about.
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