Planning a funeral for a loved one is among the hardest things a person will do. The process is physically and emotionally draining but, simultaneously, requires significant logistical coordination and organizing. While working with a funeral home can help alleviate some of the burdens, normal self-care habits are bound to fall by the wayside. If you’re in the midst of planning a funeral, remember to do these five things to take care of yourself.
1. Express Your Grief
People express grief in different ways. What’s important is to let it out. For some, that looks like leaning into work. For others, it might mean micromanaging the funeral. Others, still, might find it helpful to sleep, eat, and relax in front of the television for several days. Whatever grief looks like to you, don’t shy away from doing what you can to express it to the fullest. If you’re not sure how to express your own grief, consider practices like painting, journaling, and drawing.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Studies show that the quality of a person’s sleep declines when they are grieving. This makes rest doubly important. If you typically sleep 8 hours each night, consider increasing your sleep time to 10 hours while grieving and planning a funeral. Adding a couple of additional hours should help counteract the poorer quality of rest you are likely to get while experiencing loss.
3. Eat Well
Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet is essential during the funeral planning process. Some people may be inclined to skip meals, while others might lean fully into snack and guilty pleasure territory. While it’s important to do what feels best, you should work hard to get the essential nutrients you need. This means plenty of lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit. If you’re finding it hard to eat anything at all, consider treating yourself to something wholesome and fancy. Eating something silly and indulgent could provide the physical and mental boost you need to keep working through the pain.
4. Visit a Professional Counselor
Grief looks different for everybody. Seeing a licensed therapist can help you work through your feelings and emotions while building strategies for dealing with loss. This can be especially important while planning a funeral, as that process is often riddled with emotional triggers. If you already see a therapist, consider increasing your visits. If you don’t yet see a mental health professional, consider crisis counseling until you find a specialist you like.
5. Continue Pursuing Hobbies
It may feel difficult to continue on with activities as usual, but hobbies can provide a much-needed respite from planning and grieving. Focusing on activities that give you joy, like reading, exercising, or crafting, can be a helpful distraction. Spending time on hobbies will also help you establish a schedule and daily cadence, which can help significantly when every day feels the same. If you have the time and headspace, lean into what makes you feel good.