Self-care activities you need in the wake of pet loss

Self-care activities you need in the wake of pet loss

I’m a fixer and a doer. So the challenge of working through the grief at the loss of little Tia and then my handsome Spartacus was a daunting one. After all, I wanted to just get in there and do stuff to make it better. This is one thing I could not just fix.

In that way, going through pet grief has been an incredibly grow-worthy experience for me – one that was forced on me, of course. But nevertheless, finding my way through it using healthier self-care activities has caused a not-inconsequential – and I hopely positive – shift on my character.

Losing a cherished pet will compromise the emotional wellbeing of even the most resolute of us. If you’re like me and accustomed to getting things done to put it right, this is one of those times when you may just need to hold on and hunker down for the ride. Grief cannot be avoided or controled. As a friend of mine has reminded me repeatedly, it has a life of its own. It is a natural part of life, one that we can’t avoid however hard we try. That’s why self-care is such a vital part of the healing process. We can’t just hope that our sadness and anxiety will pass – we need to find healthy ways to love ourselves as we honour the memories of our precious animal companions.

Pet Loss Self Care Activities Tiny Pet Memories

The Importance of Self-Care Activities During the Grief of Pet Loss

Research has shown that losing a furry friend can be just as painful, if not more so, than grieving a departed family member or friend. Your grief is real and if you’re here, you're likely feeling it profoundly. The stress associated with this kind of loss can cause all kinds of physical and emotional – and even spiritual – consequences. It wears us down on every level. During times like these, it can be really easy to lose sight of self-care, which makes the grieving process even more exhausting.

Each grief journey is as unique as the person who must endure it. The many symptoms you might experience in the aftermath of the passing away of a pet include changes in appetite, sleep disruptions, fatigue, moodiness, and loss of concentration. It can be tough to cope with any of these symptoms, and seemingly impossible to do so when you’re faced with all of them simultaneously.

There are things you can do to take better care of yourself throughout the healing process. Regular exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and doing your best to stick to a healthy diet will all help you remain as primed as you can be to grow through the journey and celebrate your lost family member’s life in a healthy way.

Emotional self-care strategies are equally important as you process your grief. Finding allies who understand your pain, joining a support group, and even seeking the help of a counselor or therapist can all be ways in which you move through the process in a wellness-oriented way.

Most importantly, don’t hide or rush your grief. Take the time to be mindful of all you’re experiencing and to see it as an opportunity for personal development. Doing so may be one of the best gifts you give yourself. Exercising your emotional intelligence and accepting this as a time of growth will help you become the type of person who knows how to make the most of their time on the earth, who lives to the fullest, and loves others with all gusto.

Images: Aki Tolentino, Giulia Bertelli

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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.

Sometimes the experience of losing a cherished animal companion puts a larger burden on our mental health than we can handle alone. Finding a therapist who can support you in your pet loss may be just the boost you need to make the experience an enriching and meaningful one. Know when to find one with these guidelines.