Sometimes people confuse self-care with being selfish. The two are not synonymous. When we are selfish we put ourselves first above everyone else. When we care for ourselves, we are meeting necessary needs.
Self-care is an important component of life. God has created us body, soul, and spirit.
Look for ways to feed your soul. I’ve heard many bereaved parents say that attending church is hard; yet you do need the Christian fellowship. How can you tweak things a bit to make it more comfortable for yourself? Maybe you can sit with a friend or another family who understands your grief. If you find conversations difficult, you can arrive a little late and slip out a little early. If you truly cannot attend church, the Psalms is a great book to meditate on when your emotions are raw. Or, you might choose a brief daily devotional book with Scripture that speaks to your soul. BASIS keeps extra copies of such books available to those who come to our support group meetings.
Take care of your body. Get sufficient sleep (I know it can seem fleeting) and plan for brief rest periods when you feel your energy drained. Eat and drink in healthy ways. If you don’t have a good appetite, smaller more frequent meals may help. If you find yourself over-eating, eat foods that are nutritious and low in calories. Drink healthy fluids. Set aside time to get regular exercise. Body movement is proven to reduce depression and anxiety. Do not crowd your schedule; rather lighten it up by looking at your priorities. Decide what you need to step away from during this time of deep sorrow.
Renew your spirit. What refreshes and restores you? For many people it is being in God’s creation. Take a trip to the seashore if you live nearby; or is it the mountains and fall foliage; a walk in a park? Journaling is helpful to others. Sit down with a notebook and start writing whatever comes to your mind. If you keep this journal, you will be able to look back months and years later and see your progress. God commanded the people of the Old Testament to create “stones of remembrance.” Your journal can be like a stone of remembrance, signifying times when God meets you in your time of need. Creative activities like sewing, painting, pottery making, stamping, or memory albums and books might bring you solace.
God cares about every part of you – your soul, body and spirit. He can make provision to see that you have all the resources you need to care for each.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NIV