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Self Care Helps Healing After Losing a Loved One

Music as a therapy, bereavement, care plan, community, creativity, energy, grief, grieving, healing, health self, hospice, music, music therapy, musician, playlist, self care, stress

Music therapy and other creative-arts therapies rely on the use of an artistic medium and the presence of the therapist. However, music and the other arts can be used therapeutically on an individual basis as well, especially during a grieving period.

Express your down moods with a playlist. Put together a CD or an iPod playlist. You might want to start with melancholy or sad songs reflecting your mood and gradually transition to more uplifting songs. Especially with an iPod, you can have several lists for varied moods or adjust the playlist to fi t your evolving state of mind. Just the process of assembling it actively addresses your grief and helps you progress through it.

Sometimes after losing a loved one, you feel a gap in your life. You suddenly have time. Involve yourself in something new. Learn an instrument. Take an art class. Take a dance or yoga class. This can be a healthy way to refocus some of your energy, releasing your stress and feelings instead of internalizing and recycling them.

Physical activity can ground you. Focus on your body. Do yoga or tai chi or just breathing exercises. Get in tune with your body. These can be stabilizing, even spiritual experiences.

If you are a musician, play! An artist, create! A dancer, move! Grief may stifle your normal creativity, but it can also open new avenues of expression. These methods can be used when you are alone to lift you.

Or, they may be opportunities to gather in community with other people. What makes art, music, or movement special? There is no right or wrong. In grief, you may feel stuck.

“I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I should be doing this, or this, now.” Or, “I can’t express my grief. I can’t find the thoughts, the words.” Nonverbal expression, without strict limits or rules, with no need to “come up with the right words,” can help.