12 Weeks of Peace
Week 6: Little Ways to Heal
While Part One was more about providing you with information, Part Two will show you how you can take tangible steps on the path of healing. Little Ways to Heal are healthy outlets and activities, some of which are to be done on your own and others that should involve your friends and family. The goal is to respect and nurture the part of you that needs to be alone, while also encouraging you to resist the temptation to become isolated from those around you. Your friends and family can be a great source of comfort, they just may need a little guidance from you on what it is you need. Use these activities as a way of starting that conversation.
Day 36: Little Ways to Heal #1
Go for a walk. Play tennis. Swim a couple of laps. Do something to keep your mind active. Doing this to the point of trying to avoid your pain certainly isn’t healthy. But too much down time leads to overthinking, overanalyzing, and dwelling on feelings of sadness. Dedicating even a small amount of time every day to light exercise will translate to a small amount of time every day not spent focusing on your grief. Start small, and see where it leads you.
Day 37: Little Ways to Heal #2
What was your loved one’s favorite food? Learn how to cook it. Their favorite dessert? Bake it. Allow yourself the time to prepare a nice meal you know they’d love, and share it with someone you love. As you eat, commit yourself to discussing joyful memories and positive qualities of your loved one. Use this time to be thankful for having them in your life.
Day 38: Little Ways to Heal #3
Fill up your tub with bubbles and take a hot bath. Dim the lights, light some scented candles, play some relaxing music, and soak in the tub. Close your eyes. Think about five things that make you happy or five people in your life that you’re grateful for. You can even use meditation to find relaxation. If you’ve never meditated before you can use tips from Meditation for Beginners to get started.
Day 39: Little Ways to Heal #4
Music is a miracle. It expresses every thought, feeling, and emotion on the human spectrum.
The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with, nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than an actual brain can do. Every mix tape tells a story.
~ Rob Sheffield
So create your story. Go through songs and albums, find songs that sum up how you feel about the one you’ve lost. Find songs that bring up happy memories, songs they loved, songs that portray how you feel about them or how you felt about them at a certain point. Create a mixtape or playlist for when you’re feeling disconnected from this person, or fear that you are forgetting little things about them. Listening to your playlist can make you feel better. To make playlists you can use services such as Spotify, iTunes, 8tracks, or YouTube.
He made me a CD with loads of his favorite songs and I like listening to it because it brings back all the memories of us being together… just try to think of how much fun you had together with these things. Like a favorite place to hang out, remember all the fun times you had there! I just think they’ll still be listening to that music or going to these places, because they are completely free and can do whatever they want.
~via Hope Again
Day 40: Little Ways to Heal #5
Cry. Cry as often and for as long as you like. There is no shame or weakness in being overcome by your feelings, and you should let yourself experience them.
We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.
~ John Green
Of course you’re going to feel sad. You’ve lost someone special to you, and nothing will make that hurt go away. Don’t try to force yourself not to feel it.
Day 41: Little Ways to Heal #6
Write a letter to your loved one. Try to express to them how you feel without them or what you think your life will hold for you now. If a bit of time has gone by since the loss, tell them about the new things going on your life. Update them on your job, school, vacations, friends, family … anything you’d talk to them about if you were sitting next to them.
Day 42: Little Ways to Heal #7
One of the worst grief traps to fall into is telling yourself “I should have said…” or “I should have done…”
Unfortunately, death is often quite sudden. We always think we’ll have another tomorrow, another chance to say or do what we need to. But one of the lessons to be learned from grief is that tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Here’s the good news: people say “I love you” in so many different ways. Holding a door open, answering a late-night phone call, or even just taking the time to sit in silence together. If you’re wishing you had one last chance to tell someone who’s passed that you love them, remember that you’ve shown them how much you love them in a million little ways. They knew.