Bereaved? 10 ways to help you through Autumn

Changing of any season can bring  with it new anniversaries of significant moments. Cold crisp air, damp autumn leaves and wisps of smoke from bonfires can trigger senses and memories, whist darker mornings and evenings can, for some, feel isolating as curtains are shut earlier, and the streets quieter for longer. It can seem as though the rest if the world has some place to go, some other place to be, some one to be with. Here are some ways that may help you through:

1. Practise mindfulness. The beautiful colours, the feel of rain on your skin, the crunch of leaves underfoot – these can all help you to bring all your senses and your physical body into the moment. When being fully present in any moment it is impossible to worry about the future or ruminate on the past. Try going for a walk, and really noticing nature around you and its changes that the new Season is bringing.

2. Eat well. Autumn is the perfect time for root vegetable soups, stews or casseroles. If you don’t know how- take a look at some of our recipes in our media centre by Aida. Her videos take you through simple tasty recipes step by step. Eating healthily will help to ward of infections and viruses that the change in weather can bring. It will also help you to feel better about yourself.

3. Wrap up warm. Cosy knits, fleece blankets, pyjama mornings, hot water bottles. All of these can bring comfort as well as warmth. When you are bereaved it can be usual to feel constantly distracted. Dont forget to look after yourself.

4. Keep a journal. Writing down how you are feeling, memories that are reoccurring, memoirs, worries, dreams…………….anything that comes to you, it can be helpful to externalize your thoughts and feelings on paper. Some people find it useful to keep a notebook and pen by their bed. If you are finding it difficult to go to sleep, write down the thoughts in your mind, then close the book, tell yourself you have acknowledged the thoughts and will address them another time, and try some gentle slow breathing exercises to get you to sleep. (you may find some of the relaxation podcasts in our site useful, or an app such as headspace or buddhify).

5.Schedule in activities you can look forward to. Whether it is a coffee with a neighbour, friend, or in a local coffee shop you like the ambience of, collecting a newspaper daily, watching a favourite television or listening to a radio programme, a new recipie or a hot bath, try and plan at least one pleasurable activity a day.

6. Set goals. It may help to separate these into short term and long term goals. A short term goal may be as simple as getting up each day. Make sure you congratulate yourself for having achieved them. You may find it helps to reward yourself wit ha pleasurable activity. Longer term goals might include planning a break, finding work or volunteering, wanting to read a whole book again. Only you can set your goals as they will be uniquely personal to you, it might help to draw them out in your journal.

7. Talk. It might be a colleague, chaplain, relative, friend, shopkeeper, counsellor, GP or neighbour, but find someone who you can tell how you are really feeling and how things are for you. Talking is therapeutic, it helps to externalise your thoughts and feelings and gain someone elses perspective- or just to simply be heard.

8. Social Networking. Not necessarily the blue bird type! It may help to increase your social activities Whether its going back to the club you gave up, finding a reading group, volunteering in a charity shop, attending a bereavement group or joining the U3A, there are ways of meeting new people and making new friends that you don’t even know that you don’t know yet 🙂

9.Allow yourself space to grieve, Often people feel they must keep busy to avoid feeling, or that there is so much to do do, that there is not time to stop and reflect or that they ‘should be feeling better by now’. It is important to allow yourself time- both to live, and to grieve. Different people will do this differently, but anything that connects you to the person that has died can help. Whether its visiting the cemetery, lighting a candle, listening to a piece of music. Its okay not to be okay.

10. Be gentle with yourself. This is a time of transition, for you and the Seasons. Take care of yourself and enlist the support you need to get you through. Ask for help if you need it. Whether its the school run, a neighbour putting the bin out, or ringing an organisation to see what services they can offer you- people are usually glad to feel that they are being useful.

 

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