Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Sara Bailey. She, like me, has recently gone through a painful loss. Her loss was her husband.She approached me about writing a piece for my blog and I gratefully agreed. As you may know, I just wrote a book about the loss of my precious daughter entitled Finding Hope In The Darkness Of Grief. Sara, too, is in the process of writing a book about her experience.
Loss is very difficult. And so is being able to relax and move on. So, without further adieu, here is Sara's article. I hope you enjoy it!
Recovering from the loss of a spouse or a partner is a long — and often lonely — journey. Regardless of how much support you have, there will be times you have to face the grief alone, and night time is one of them. Loss of sleep is one of the most natural — and also frustrating — symptoms of grief. While trouble sleeping in the first few days or even weeks is very common, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your sleep to your grief. Here are a few tips to help you ease the ache of sleepless nights.
Meditate to Let Go of Ruminative Thoughts
Studies show that some of our most powerfully negative and painful thoughts creep in at night. We don’t have the business of work, family, school, or other responsibilities to distract our minds like we do during the day. The grief, anxiety, anger, and sadness — plus bittersweet memories — often hit us the hardest at night. Meditation is one way you can practice letting go of those thoughts. Plus, the work you do focusing on your breath and muscles can also help ease your body into sleep. There are several different kinds of meditation you can try. In guided meditation, a narrator guides your mind through a journey to a state of mind you’d like to achieve or a goal you want to accomplish. You could also try a progressive muscle relaxation meditation where you tense and then relax each muscle in your body, slowly and methodically, from your head to your toes to help bring you comfort.
Renovate Your Bedroom for New Memories
Your bedroom may hold memories of your partner that keep you up at night. Memories are powerful ways to keep our lost loved ones alive, but they can also keep us stuck, blocking us from moving through the pain. Consider a bedroom remake to help you feel like you are in a new space. Start with your bed, especially if your mattress is older and needs replacing anyway. You can save time and money by purchasing a mattress online instead of in a store, which usually comes with a generous trial period so you can make sure you’ve made the right choice. Once you’ve chosen a new mattress and bedframe, you can paint the walls a new color — soothing blues and greens work wonders for sleep — and hang a few blackout curtains, which will keep excess light out, signaling to your body it’s time to rest.
Start a Regular Exercise Schedule
Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day will make a major impact in the quality of your sleep. Physiologically, your body needs sleep to recover and rebuild, and exercise further encourages that process. Your mind and body will need to spend more time sleeping and will require better quality sleep. On top of that, research has shown that exercise is a positive coping mechanism for managing stress, anxiety, and depression — three emotions you are likely to feel as you move through the stages of grief. The endorphin surge and physical exhaustion you feel when you exercise is an unmatched mind-body boost.
Get Gadgets (Not Gimmicks!)
In a world that emphasizes immediate gratification, there are a lot of gimmicks out there that will try to “guarantee” you better sleep. Trust your intuition and approach these get-sleep-quick gadgets with caution. Be sure to look for sleep-aiding technology that is reviewed and approved by sleep professionals and organizations with solid reputations. For example, the Aura is a sleep tracker that offers light therapy, sleep programs, and wake-up programs. If you purchase sleep tech, be sure it comes with a trial period or a money-back guarantee so you don’t waste your hard-earned cash on a product that’s not right for you.
There is no set timeline for mourning; taking it slowly might seem frustrating, but it could also be a better long-term solution. You can build back a regular sleeping pattern over time if you take it slow, plan for sleep with intention, and focus on mind and body.
If you enjoyed Sara's post, you can find her at http://thewidow.net/
Thanks for taking a moment to stop on my blog. Have a blessed day!