Surviving Spouse Corner: Self-Care Tips for Grievers

Surviving Spouse Corner: Self-Care Tips for Grievers

(This article originally appeared in MOAA's Council and Chapter News update, which is delivered monthly in The MOAA Newsletter. Read the latest Council and Chapter News here.)


By Capt. Kathy Thorp, USN (Ret), Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee Member


The weeks following a loved one’s passing are challenging — with grief creeping to overtake you at any moment. Caring for your body, mind, and spirit is key to facing the future.


Here are a few other tips to remember:


  • Establish a sleep hygiene schedule. Sleep, as simple as it sounds, is the first of many ways to lead to self-compassion and self-care.

  • Lean on your family and friends. Take up offers of help, luncheon dates, or dinner. It benefits you as much as it benefits the giver, who desires to show their love and concern for you. Be careful to not over do it though; it’s important to find the right balance and be able to say “no.”

  • Ask for help with responsibilities your loved one once did. This will help you learn and master unknown tasks and build confidence. Or, hire someone, either for a short period of time or longer, to tackle the jobs which with you’re uncomfortable.

  • Establish a “what if” binder. (Regardless whether you’ve lost a loved one or not, take time to do this.) It will help those you leave behind to carry out your wishes. Many articles, pamphlets, and books have been written about what surviving spouses need to know, including valuable resources from MOAA.


Lastly, find your peaceful place — at the beach, at the lake, or someplace you and your loved one shared together. Admire the beauty, feel the breeze, remember the love you shared, and say a prayer that comes to your heart.

Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


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