Healing Grief: setting boundaries to prioritize emotional wellbeing

Losing a loved one is an immensely challenging experience that can deeply impact our emotional health.
By illume Editorial Team
Last updated: Jul 6, 2023
10 min read
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The grieving process is unique for each individual, and it’s crucial to prioritize emotional wellbeing during this time. One effective way to navigate this journey is by setting boundaries. 

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of setting boundaries when it comes to healing your grief. We’ll also look at how it can contribute to improving your emotional health. By establishing personal and physical boundaries, you can create a safe space to process your emotions and foster healthy relationships with family members and yourself.

Understanding the Grieving Process

Grief encompasses overwhelming and often negative emotions following the death of a loved one. Acknowledging and accepting these emotions is an essential part of the healing process. 

However, it’s equally important to recognize that setting boundaries can help you navigate through this challenging time. By consciously managing your time and energy, you can avoid overwhelming yourself and reduce stress. You’ll learn to make your physical and mental health a priority and spend time taking care of your needs.

Establishing Personal Boundaries 

Personal boundaries are the emotional limits we set for ourselves. They define what is acceptable and what makes us feel uncomfortable. During the grieving process, it’s crucial to honor your personal boundaries to ensure your emotional wellbeing. 

Allow yourself to express your emotions without judgment or guilt. Give yourself permission to take breaks when needed, to grieve in your own way, and to prioritize self-care activities that bring you comfort and solace.

Examples of common personal boundaries include:

  • Saying “no” when you feel overwhelmed or unable to take on additional responsibilities.
  • Setting limits on how much time you spend discussing the loss or talking about your loved one’s death.
  • Communicating your emotional needs and expressing when you need space or time alone to process your grief.
  • Setting boundaries around social interactions and gatherings, giving yourself the freedom to decline invitations or attend events only when you feel ready.
  • Limiting exposure to triggers or reminders that may intensify your grief, such as avoiding certain places, objects, or conversations that bring up painful memories.
  • Establishing boundaries around privacy and personal information, choosing whom to share your emotions and experiences with and at what level of detail.
  • Defining boundaries regarding the involvement of others in your grieving process, clarifying what type of support you desire and when you prefer to be alone.
  • Establishing boundaries around self-care activities, allowing yourself to prioritize activities that promote healing and emotional wellbeing.
  • Setting limits on discussing sensitive topics or engaging in arguments that may be emotionally draining or unproductive.
  • Communicating your boundaries with family members and friends, making it clear what is and isn’t acceptable behavior or conversation during this time.
  • Allocating time for rest and relaxation without feeling guilty, recognizing the importance of taking care of yourself amidst grief.

Creating Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries involve setting limits on personal space and interactions with others. Losing a loved one can make you feel vulnerable, and it’s essential to create a physical environment where you feel safe. 

Communicate your needs clearly to family members and friends, and kindly request the space and privacy you require. This can include designating certain areas in your home as your sanctuary, where you can retreat and process your emotions without interruption.

Examples of common physical boundaries include:

  • Designating a specific area in your home as your personal space where you can retreat and have time alone.
  • Setting limits on physical touch and affection from others, allowing yourself to decide when and with whom you feel comfortable being hugged or touched.
  • Clearly communicating your need for personal space to family members and friends, especially during moments when you require solitude or privacy.
  • Setting boundaries around your physical well-being, ensuring you get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition to support your healing process.
  • Limiting physical contact during social gatherings or events, choosing to engage with others at a level that feels comfortable to you.
  • Creating a safe and peaceful environment in your home by removing objects or reminders that may trigger negative emotions or memories.
  • Setting boundaries around your daily routine and schedule, allowing yourself to prioritize self-care activities and allocate time for rest and relaxation.
  • Communicating your need for personal space or physical distance when interacting with others, especially when you feel overwhelmed or emotionally drained.
  • Establishing boundaries around physical activities or tasks that may require more energy or effort than you can currently handle, knowing when to take breaks and pace yourself.

Nurturing Healthy Relationships

Setting boundaries can also help foster healthy relationships with family members and friends who are grieving alongside you. Each person may experience grief differently, and respecting individual boundaries is crucial. By communicating openly and honestly with your loved ones, you can establish a supportive environment where everyone’s emotional health is prioritized. Consider joining a grief support group where you can connect with others who are navigating similar experiences, providing you with a network of understanding individuals.

The Benefits of Setting Boundaries

When you set and uphold boundaries during the grieving process, you create a space where positive emotions can flourish. By allowing yourself time to heal, you can gradually find joy and meaning in life again. 

Establishing healthy boundaries improves your emotional health, which in turn positively impacts your physical and mental wellbeing. It allows you to process grief at your own pace, reducing the risk of emotional burnout and fostering a smoother healing journey.

Find Grief Support with Grief Works by Illume

Getting support when grieving is essential, but it can be challenging.

The Grief Works app offers 24/7 support in the palm of your hand. The 28-session therapeutic course will help you process your grief at your own pace, and you’ll gain access to 30+ interactive tools to manage your emotions when you need them.

Connect with a community that cares for you, attend live monthly group sessions with Julia herself and have the option to text-chat to a counselor when needed.

Reach out for support now to take the first step towards soothing your pain, building your strength and healing from grief.