Our Tip of the Week: When you’ve experienced a loss, it can be difficult to take care of yourself in the aftermath. Failing to take care of your own needs may lead to depression and loss of self-identity in the long run. Taking a moment to pause and consider your own needs is not a selfish act. It gives you the energy you need to process your grief and remember your loved one. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can identify which aspects of your life you need to focus on in the moment, ensuring that your needs are met as you overcome a significant loss.
How-to Suggestion: Begin with the base of the pyramid, your physiological needs. Get outside in the fresh air; drink plenty of water; take breaks during the day; get enough sleep; and eat healthfully.
After you’ve taken care of those basics, move on to your need for safety and security. Establish rules in your household to support your grieving process, such as giving yourself at least one hour of alone time every night or creating a “safe zone” in your home where you can escape for a while.
Next, do things that meet your need for love and friendship. Spend time with loved ones who make you feel at peace. Go out to lunch with friends, or talk with people you trust on the phone. Once you’ve established those connections, engage in activities that build your self-esteem. Speak to a therapist, or try activities such as yoga, exercise or meditation. Embrace your achievements as you begin to move through your grief.
Finally, you’ll be ready to tackle your need for self-actualization and find a place of personal growth. Pick a goal that you’ve always wanted to accomplish, and make it a reality. It can take a long time to get to this point, but when you do, you will find a purpose and create meaning from the death of your loved one.