At times, the intensity of grief leaves us feeling like nothing could bring relief. Our sorrow is too deep, our despair too consuming. Yet somehow, we find unexpected comforts in the throes of our grief, and these become tiny lifelines that keep us from drowning. If you have not yet experienced any such comforts, please know that after working with hundreds of grieving people, I feel confident in reassuring you that you will.
Very often these comforts are “random” or serendipitous- we stumble upon them without having sought them. But many are things we can seek out to provide a dose of relief in our pain. Below is a list of unexpected comforts that have supported clients in the past. Consider them with an open mind and with the understanding that what works in grief may be entirely different (unexpected!) than what has worked for you in other trying times. Experiment a bit, and I hope you find something comforting below.
Pets or animals- If you have none of your own and suspect they may help, volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs or brush cats.
Coloring- An adult coloring book and a pack of colored pencils can provide soothing repetition.
Beautiful music- Nostalgic or new, music heals.
Self-help books- Daily readers with brief passages are especially comforting. I like Healing After Loss by Martha W. Hickman.
Sunshine- Aside from the Vitamin D benefits, the enduring nature of the sun can be a comforting touchstone.
Yoga- Many discover yoga for the first time in grief; a beginner’s class or video on YouTube can help get you started.
Routine- Predictability brings comfort.
Nature- Peace and quiet and soothing fresh air.
Building- Whether wood-working or puzzle-solving, putting something together can be a comforting act.
Cooking- The repetition of cooking can be a comfort and the secondary benefit of sustenance helps too.
Prayer- Memorized, rote prayers can be soothing and easy to execute even with “grief brain.”
Writing- Letters to the departed are often surprisingly comforting! Other writing formats work too.
Daily walks- The cadence and fresh air combined can bring such comfort.
Other grievers- Being with those who “get it” can provide immeasurable comfort. Keep an eye out here for a new monthly grief support group starting in March 2022.
If you have found unexpected comforts in grief and want to share with other grievers, please leave a comment letting us know what worked for you!