A note from Kelly King: I’m very grateful for Kaye Hurta’s recent articles on grieving. I’ve heard from several women that they have been helpful in regard to their personal journey of loss. In today’s article, Kaye gives some “next steps” that involve taking care of yourself. If you aren’t going through grief, these may seem like simple steps, but they can easily get sidetracked in the midst of all the layers of grief. Kaye will be at several You Lead events this year teaching a breakout on how to help women in crisis. I hope you will consider coming to a city near you!
Grieving is a process. It is complicated. If loss happened in a vacuum, it would be difficult enough, but it doesn’t. Loss occurs in the middle of life that is already messy, painful, and complicated at times. It rarely makes an appointment and seems to know the worst time to enter through the door of daily living. Loss can and often does occur in multi-layered fashion. For example, I am grieving several losses in my life all at one time. I am grieving the loss of loved ones (which is ongoing), loss in relationships, and loss of hopes and dreams at home and at church. I have learned and am learning the importance of being curious and kind with myself and all my “feels.” I have learned and am learning the value of offering myself grace and space. I give myself grace when I’m feeling overwhelmed and have to leave things undone and space for my body, soul, and spirit to rest and refresh.
If you are grieving a loss or multiple losses or if you are walking with someone who is, here are two best “next steps” to offer yourself or someone else:
1. Self Care. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give yourself in a season of grief. There are several aspects to consider around self care.
- Rest. Your entire being needs this! Grieving is exhausting. Plan for more breaks in your day on every level—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Exercise. There is no better remedy for sadness than to take a walk. If all you can do is walk to the end of the driveway and back, do it! Start where you are, but please start!
- Nutrition. What you eat affects how you feel. Eat clean, make healthy choices, avoid “escape” foods such as sugar, alcohol, and carbs.
- Water. Not only is grief exhausting to your system, it also dehydrates. Drink more water than normal.
- Tend to your soul and spirit. Do what helps you connect with God and stay connected to yourself. Consider prayer, podcasts, worship music, journaling, reading, enjoying nature, or meditation.
The second best next step is:
2. Support. Grief is too heavy to carry alone. In fact, when it comes to support, the more the merrier. No one person can help you carry the weight of your loss alone, we all need to draw from a deep well of support to help us through the grieving process. Consider the following:
- Talk. Tell your story. Identify the friends in your life who might be willing to listen. Spread out the weight of your story among many.
- Find a small group. Many churches offer a grief support group; find one near you and GO. Cycle through more than once if needed. In our church, you are allowed to cycle through two times.
- Find a counselor. Grief is complicated. The emotions surrounding grief can be complicated. Those emotions can trigger past loss, trauma, and family of origin issues. I highly recommend gifting yourself at least one session with a trained, Christian counselor. If you have the means or insurance for more, do it!
Self care and support are the two best next steps to consider when you are grieving or helping someone through the process. As always, if there are concerns for your safety, please contact a medical professional, the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255), or call 911. Additionally, most hospitals provide a free behavioral health assessment to identify the severity of your symptoms. Please reach out for help. You matter, you are loved, and you are not alone.
If you are grieving a loss of any kind, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that the God of all comfort would pour Himself out over you today and that He would bind up your broken heart as only He can do. In the name of Jesus, Amen!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.