Grief ritual is work. It is emotional labor. We are opening our hearts and sometimes, this can be the first time in our lives where we do so. The following are some recommendations for how to care for yourself and those around you in the days leading up to ritual and afterwards. Understandably not one size fits all and these are just offerings which may or may not work for each person.
What are your resilience practices? For me, some are singing in a group setting, being in nature, dancing, cold plunging in the ocean, snuggling with my child, being in a room with my closest people, watching a comedy film, etc. These are the things that I choose to do strategically in order to bing me back into an equilibrium when I have swung to an extreme. For example: rage or grief or frustration or irritation or even ecstasy or a feeling of floating outside my body. These practices have a tendency to help bring me back to center. What are some of yours? These are generally great practices to have lined up in the days following grief ritual.
In my own experience I have found that the day after ritual I am needing extra rest, so if you are able to plan ahead and make space for that I highly recommend it, even if it means making a little more spaciousness between meetings or only working part time that day. If this is not possible, please be gentle with yourself, reminding yourself the hard work you have just done and offer yourself grace.
Sometimes when we do grief work it is like we are entering into a metamorphosis where we go from a solid shape (pre-ritual) to a shape becoming re-organized (like the starling)... new information is coming in and we each have different timelines for how we re-pattern and re-grow into our new shapes. So self care is being graceful with ourselves as we allow these new shapes to take place.
Some ways that support the prep for ritual and post ritual are listed below.
Take or leave any of them and the invitation is to come up with your own:
bath with epsom salts
a plunge into a body of water that speaks to you
being in nature
a friend or therapist to support you in the continuation of your process
Besides having access to a friend or therapist to support you in the continuation of your process, another thing to be mindful of is when and how soon you share your experience of ritual with others. As you re-organize that shape,
consider allowing the wisdom that you have excavated to sink into your tissues before you articulate it to the people around you who are curious. This allows for you to get clear on your own embodied experience first before other people's assessments get added in.