8 Self-Care Tips for Suicide Loss Survivors
First of all, phew! Big sigh of relief. How am I still standing? How is this possible? How can I write this blog without getting choked up, tears blinding my vision and drenching my keyboard? The answer is simple: I’m much stronger than I gave myself credit for. Does this mean I’m over the cycle of pain? No, not by any means. It’s an ongoing process and I will take a while to heal. But every day brings a new hope, a new emotion and mixed feelings.
Self-care is vital during the grieving process after a partner or someone you love has died by suicide. You must take care of both your inner-child and outer-adult. Here is a list of things I’ve been practicing and have found useful in my grief journey:
1. Spend time with your feelings. Meditate or pray. Spend time alone. Your soul’s calling must be heard. Listen to what it’s saying. Self-awareness is key.
2. Express yourself. Journal or write about your feelings, emotions, fears, anger, sadness, frustration. Get it all out. The only path to healing is to let your emotions be a floodgate, let them overflow onto the paper.
3. Phone a friend. Or two. Or five. I’ve spent the last few weeks on the phone with a few close female friends who I trust. Healing takes place when we talk about our pain. You need to validate what you’re feeling. Don’t bottle it up inside.
4. Find a grief or bereavement counselor. Community non-profit organizations in your area might offer free counseling. I’ve booked some sessions with one who lost a son to suicide. Common bonds can be formed with a compassionate person who knows what you’re going through.
5. Eat and rest. For me, the first week was tough. You might not want to get out of bed. Take some time to process the loss and trauma. At this time, you may not have an appetite, but do your best to eat small snacks and hydrate yourself.
6. Show yourself compassion. Take a long soak in a hot bubble bath. Light some candles, put on soft music. Your mind and body are going through a lot. This is a heavy process. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself. You deserve to be given the gift of your time, your healing and your renewal. Take time to fall in love with your life again. Loss of a loved one is devastating, and it can drain you, but be good to yourself. You can do this.
7. Get out of the house. Call a friend and have a latte on a patio. Feel the sun on your skin. Breathe the summer air.
8. Take stock of what’s still beautiful in your life. Friends, family or mentors who uplift you can show you what still matters. Remember, you have a lot to offer in this life. You have a bright future ahead. People love you, and there’s more beauty yet to come.
Cheering for you,
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.