OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Self Care After a Traumatic Loss or Event

Taking care of yourself is important to prevent further problems and stress from developing. The following have been found to be helpful in coping with traumatic grief:

  • The most important thing you can do for yourself during this time is to spend time with friends or family, face-to-face. Social support, more than any other factor, will help prevent you from feeling depressed and anxious.
  • Maintain a regular daily routine by setting times for waking, meals, and going to bed.
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water, even if your appetite has diminished significantly.
  • Avoid too much caffeine, as it will interrupt your sleep.
  • If you’re having trouble sleeping, develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine. Wind down with a book, crossword puzzle, or quite music before bed rather than watching television.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities such as going for a walk or playing catch with a friend. They will take you away from the stress and refresh you mentally.
  • Exercise helps to counteract depression and makes you feel good physically and mentally. The exercise does not need to be strenuous. If you have doubts about your fitness, consult your doctor.
  • Try different relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, listening to music, visualization, or yoga.
  • Engage in something creative like writing, drawing, playing an instrument, dancing, etc.
  • Avoid seeking relief through alcohol, smoking, medication, and other drugs.
  • Some people find it helpful to spend fifteen to thirty minutes alone every day to reflect on their emotions and thoughts. Turning off your phone ensures that you won't be disturbed.
  • Try keeping a journal. Writing down your feelings and memories of your loved one can be comforting and helpful in seeing how your grief changes over a period of weeks and months.

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