Over the course of our lives, experiencing a loss becomes inevitable. We will all go through the pain of losing someone or something we love and cherish. While the pain of some losses are easier to process others can feel overwhelming. Either way, self-care practices offer a safe environment where the loss can be explored on an emotional and spiritual level.

Experiencing a loss is heart-breaking and the grief which comes with it is often heavy. It may be difficult to process the various emotions you are feeling and the uphill road towards healing may seem hard. However, with the right tools finding healing, inner peace and having the strength to move forward after a loss is possible.

A self-care practice is the perfect tool when it comes to healing from deep sorrow. Such practice when performed with no judgement and self-compassion creates a cocoon around you where you can explore the loss without reliving the actual loss. This is because a self-care practice has a clear beginning and a clear ending making exploring emotions, feelings and needs within this setting safe. When you engage in a self-care practice you are saying a big yes to taking care of yourself and your needs. It creates space for you to gain the clarity you are seeking and the inner peace your heart is longing for. Let’s take a look at 5 self-care practices to help you move through the healing process:

1. Take a walk in nature

It is a well-known fact that spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety and uplifts emotional well-being. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break and seek a peaceful moment in nature. Take a companion with you if you feel more comfortable having someone with you. Before you start, set your intention. As you walk, allow yourself to connect with the tranquillity and the beauty which surround you. Dedicate this time to your healing. 

2. Keep a loss journal

Keeping a loss journal provides a space for reflection and soul-searching without judgement. Choose a notebook and pens you want to use for your journal. It is helpful to set a specific day and time in the week or month for journaling. Choose a space where you feel comfortable and can spend some time writing without any distractions. If writing seems daunting, try doodling, using collage, stickers and photos to capture your thoughts and feelings. 

3. Relaxation

Plan time for relaxation during your day. Create a cosy space at home where you can fully relax. Try this simple 5-minute relaxation: While seated comfortably, gently close your eyes and take a few breaths. When you are ready, place both hands on your heart space and continue to breathe gently. Connect with your breath, the here and now and allow your body to soften with each breath. As your body relaxes so does your mind. After the 5 minutes, you should feel energized as well as calm.

4. Dance

When the sorrow you feel is too heavy and you feel stuck, dance. Dancing is an effective way to allow the grief to move through your body. Put your favourite music on and follow the beat. Dance until you feel your mood has lifted and you feel more relaxed. 

5. End the day with a grateful heart

Days often feel endless and are hard to get through following a loss. Before you go to sleep at night, find one thing you are grateful for. It can be the little things which often go unnoticed. By practising gratefulness you build resilience which in turn helps you move forward.

Life although forever changed does not mean a life filled with sadness. You can still bring a spark of joy into your life by keeping your loved one’s memory alive. It is a beautiful way to honour the life and the love you shared. Creating new traditions and rituals not only help you heal your broken heart but it can inspire you in building a life with a brand-new purpose and new meaning.

Here’s 5 meaningful ways to keep your loved one’s memory alive:

1. Create new traditions around the holidays

Holiday seasons can be tough and this is where your loved one’s absence will be felt the most. The beauty about creating new traditions is that you are free to design something which holds special meaning for you. The possibilities are endless from starting the celebrations with a remembrance dinner, play their favourite music, light a candle or fill your home with flowers. Follow your heart and your intuition.

2. Celebrate your loved one’s birthday

If you love the outdoors, you can organise a day out in nature to celebrate your loved one’s birthday. Choose your loved one’s favourite spot and make it a special day filled with their favourite things and add your unique touch. Another simple way is to bake a cake and share it with close friends and family. You can say a few words to toast this day. 

3. Cook your loved one’s favourite meal on special occasions

This is a touching way to honour your loved one on special occasions. Including things like favourite recipes, foods and drinks revive fond memories and bring joy. 

4. Grow a remembrance garden

If you have an outdoor space you can grow a remembrance garden in a small dedicated section. Choose flowers and plants you love. Before you start, set your intention and consciously dedicate this space to your loved one’s memory. Tending to the garden is a symbolic gesture. As you take care of the garden you are tending to the love which still flows between you both. If you do not have a garden, a balcony or small corner with potted plants work well too. 

5. Donate in your loved one’s name

Choose a charity which is close to yours or your loved one’s heart and make a donation in your loved one’s name. Fundraising for a special event such as a 5km fun run or marathon is a great way to honour your loved one. Ask friends and family to get involve and make it an annual event.

Keeping your loved one’s memory alive is not just about the things you do. It is all about intention, connection and a whole lot of love.

Corinne Laan is the author of The Art of Grieving: Gentle self-care practices to heal a broken heart (Rockpool Publishing, $29.95).

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