Here are the two most important reasons you need to adopt these healthy habits after losing someone you love: to avoid a downward spiral into sadness and depression, and to get a boost in energy and mood.
In How to Heal the Pain After Losing a Loved One, I share emotional and spiritual tips for accepting a sad and painful loss – whether it’s a breakup, divorce, or even the death of a boyfriend or husband. Here, I share practical, creative, and healthy habits that will change how you physically feel. Why is this part of healing after losing someone you love? Because the more energy and vitality you have, the stronger you’ll feel. Here are the most important healthy habits you can implement in your life after losing someone you love, plus examples from my own life.
What advice have you already received about the importance of adopting healthy habits after losing someone you love? Before you read my tips, take a moment to think about what you already know. You are smarter than you think and stronger than you believe. Share your healthiest habits with me below! I’d love to hear what works for you.
5 Healthy Habits After Losing Someone You Love
Briefly, my five healthy habits are:
- Morning Quiet Time
- Early bed time and quality sleep
- Yoga/Pilates one day, cardio the next
- Painting one day, playing my flute the next
- Paying attention to my triggers
Below, I explain how these healthy habits helped me cope everything from losing someone I love to surviving the death of a beloved dog.
1. Morning Quiet Time
I get up every morning at 4 am. No, I am not suggesting this is a healthy habit you need to adopt after losing someone you love! But, my Morning Quiet Time has been key to my emotional and spiritual growth. I’m happier, more peaceful, and filled with energy and passion. I need that time to reflect and recharge.
How do you reflect and recharge? If you don’t know what fills your tank – or if you’ve been running on empty for days or even years – now is the time to adopt Morning Quiet Time as a healthy habit. It will help you cope with losing someone you love by giving you space and time to work through your grief.
2. Early bed time and quality sleep
If I’m in bed by 8 pm, I’m ecstatic! But usually it’s 9 pm by the time I actually hit the hay. Still this is early by most people’s standards. The earlier I go to bed, the happier I am in the morning.
The reason this is one of the most important healthy habits to adopt after losing someone you love is because sadness, depression, and despair is most likely to hit you at night. You may be fine all day…and then boom! Ten o’clock at night and you’re wracked with sorrow. You’re in a heap on the floor.
Get the right amount of sleep. For me, it’s seven hours (9 pm to 4 am), but I also have a 30 minute nap after lunch every day. Many people don’t have that luxury – I work from home as a full-time writer and blogger, so my schedule is fairly flexible – but most people have control over what time their head hits the pillow.
3. Yoga/Pilates one day, cardio the next
After I make a giant cup of coffee at 4 am and have my Morning Quiet Time, my husband gets up. It’s about 5:20 am, and we do a 15 minute session of yoga or Pilates. We have a large selection of DVDs, and we just cycle through them. This makes exercise a healthy habit that’s easy to do because we don’t have to leave the house! I listed my favorite ones in Best Yoga DVDs for Weight Loss, Stretching, and Energy.
I actually don’t alternate Yoga/Pilates with cardio, like I do with my flute and painting (see the next healthy habit). I do cardio – which for me is a 25 minute run up and down five major hills in my neighborhood – on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The other days are Pilates or Yoga, with a day off every week or so.
If you’re grieving or just plain blue after losing someone you love, don’t underestimate the importance of staying physically healthy! Those healthy endorphins from running, stretching, and taking care of your body will help you heal.
4. Painting one day, playing my flute the next
This is my newest and most favorite of all the healthy habits on this list.
After my workout, I either paint or play my flute. I alternate days. I like painting better because I can feel the good energy and positive vibes flowing through my body. I literally feel snap crackle pop rushing through my veins! I play jazz or blues music – actually, right now it’s Classic Christmas songs from the RadioTunes channel – and paint for 45 minutes.
I taught myself to play the flute about three years ago, and am slowly improving my skills and technique. I haven’t taken any music lessons; I just buy Flute Practice books with accompanying DVDs. Soon, I’ll be volunteering at a residential care center for seniors and playing for them!
Finding the right creative outlets is a fun way to build healthy habits into your life. You can paint or play through your grief or disappointment. This will help you let go of someone you love by allowing your subconscious mind – or your conscious thoughts – process the pain you feel.
5. Paying attention to my triggers
This is one of those “healthy habits” that you can’t really schedule into your day. Rather, it’s a skill that I learned when I was actively recovering from an eating disorder. By paying attention to what triggered or led me to binge eat, I learned what made me sad. It was always sadness that made me do unhealthy things to my body.
Knowing your triggers is a healthy habit because I’ll help you build self-awareness and insight into your life. What situations or people cause you to melt in pain after losing someone you love? What drives you to drugs, food, shopping, or unhealthy risks? Pay attention to those triggers; learn how you feel when you take up the unhealthy habits that make you feel bad about yourself and your life.
If you’re coping with the loss of someone you love but you didn’t get to say farewell, you may find What is Relationship Closure? How to Heal Without a Goodbye.
Learn the power of healthy habits
Have you experienced the power of habit in your life – in healthy or unhealthy ways? What effect did the loss of a loved one have on your daily routine? If you can take a step back from your emotions, you’ll better see how losing someone you love has affected your life.
I recently read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg, and it inspired me to write this article. “The brain has this amazing ability to find happiness even when the memories of it are gone,” he writes.
I can’t believe how powerful the most simple healthy habits are – even if they only take five or fifteen minutes a day. They add up so quickly, yet they seem so meaningless. This may not be the most consoling book to read after losing someone you love, but it will help you see the importance of adapting a routine in your life.
“Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes,” writes Duhigg. “A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves….Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.”
What small wins will you experience simply by putting healthy habits into practice in your life?