By Amber C. Snider
Grief, loss, and heartache are inevitable; suffering is built into the human condition and affects us all in different ways. While the comfort of community is one of the best soul balms, inevitably, we each must deal with these experiences in our own way. Healing is a journey (one that never follows a straight line) and these practical and magical tips may help bring some comfort into your life.
Many folks talk about the importance of self-care and self-love, and while that’s true, especially with extreme hardship, sometimes those words become overused and watered down in our social media-saturated society. Plus, it’s not always easy to prioritize self-care while you’re in the throes of complex grief or faced with loss. Still, whether you’ve lost a loved one or are battling internal turmoil, self-care (which is a form of self-love) is important to practice and cultivate. In fact, sometimes our very survival depends on it, since we can’t take care of others without first attending to ourselves. Making time for oneself –– to re-tune, recenter, refocus, and even relearn –– is a good first start. Here, we’ve shared a few magical tools, suggestions, and rituals that may help ease grief, release stress, and aid in the spiritual healing process.
Candles for heartache and loss
Candle magic is an intention-based, spiritual practice that dates back thousands of years across a myriad of cultures. It also helps with meditation work, acting as a small beacon of light to help attune your focus, with the flame sending your intention into the universe. At Enchantments, we love the Love Healing Candle, Sea Priestess Candle, and the Crystal Healing Candle for deep emotional healing. Made with corresponding hand-blended oils and wood-base incense, Enchantments hand-carves and personalizes each candle, making it a complete spell that burns for 7-10 days. You can also get the corresponding oils separately, including the Love Healing oil, Ocean Mother oil, Crystal Healing oil, and wear them daily as you would a perfume.
Similarly, you can simply buy any white candle for spiritual healing and customize it on your own. Try rubbing the candle down with essential oils of your choice (like lavender for peace, frankincense for purification, etc.) and adding silver or blue glitter (just make sure it’s metal-based glitter rather than plastic). We recommend taking a cleansing sea salt bath before lighting the candle and speaking aloud your intentions/wishes as you light it.
Let and allow your community to hold space for you
In hard times, let your community come to your aid. So many of us are steeped in “self-sufficiency” and that’s great –– but it’s also okay to let others help you. Don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance when you need it. In my own recent instance of loss, a friend said to me: “Allow yourself to receive” and I was struck by her statement –– it jolted me actually –– simply because I hadn’t thought of that in my own grief. It was a simple, yet profound statement that I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear. Allow the Universe to provide for you, stay open to receiving, stay open to love and help from others, stay open to signs, and allow others to give what they can in their own way.
Walk (get out in nature, solo)
Many “geniuses” have remarked that they’ve come up with some of their best ideas while simply walking in nature, but it’s also a great way to release stress, recenter yourself, and get your circulation going. There are numerous physical benefits and emotional benefits to forest bathing, as well. Rather than go on a walk with a friend and filling up the space with endless chatter, take walks in nature by yourself, noticing all the details as you move along. Use it as a meditative time, a time to commune with the Spirits and your higher self, as well as tap into the deeper currents of nature.
Perform a nightly bath ritual
When it’s bedtime, rather than go over your to-do list for the next day or scroll through Instagram into the wee hours of the night, turn your devices to “do not disturb” and create a nightly bath ritual. Add a half a cup of sea salt and a few drops of essential oils to your bath (lavender works well for sleep and peace). We also recommend trying Enchantments’ hand-blended sea salt bath called Psyche’s Balm Bath.
During your bath ritual, bring a book if you’d like, but create a strict “no technology” rule during this time. Our previous story on bath rituals goes over excellent tips by Enchantments’ staff Carmen Pouerie. After the bath, wrap yourself up in a cozy, terry cloth robe (if you have it), spritz your pillow with hand-made lavender spray (a few drops of essential oil mixed with water and witch hazel in a glass bottle), and try doing a slow body scan meditation once you get into bed.
Place a pillow under your knees for support, and start with your toes, imagining them relaxing fully into the bed. Move that sensation up to your ankles, calves, and finish with the top of your head. I also like to use various guided meditation apps like Insight Timer or Calm, but try not to get distracted by your phone and feel the urge to go on social media or check emails in between.
Write as much as you can (it’s cathartic)
Keep a notebook with you or just use the Notes app on your phone. Jot down random thoughts, poems, words that come to you, stories, memories. Use it all. Save it all. Look at it later. You’re keeping a record of your life in these moments.
Try sacred smoke cleansing (for your psychic energy and space)
If it’s not already in your practice, using sacred smoke to cleanse your aura and physical space can make a big difference. We love Rebirth incense, Meditation incense, and Kyphi incense, all of which are hand-blended with a recipe of oils and made with colorful wood base. You can also try Frankincense and Myrrh incense or resin (burn it on a disk of charcoal in a fire-safe dish such as a cauldron).
Yes, especially while you’re in the throes of grief or difficulty, it’s 100% okay to treat yourself to simple, physical, human pleasures. Get a mani/pedi, get a haircut (but don’t go overboard with a new style or get bangs if you don’t already have ‘em…), buy a new dress or pair of shoes, take a trip, sing loudly in the shower or street (who cares), do something that brings you joy in the moment.
Practice saying “no”
While you should allow others to be there for you during hard times, but it’s also super important to say NO when you don’t want it or choose to be somewhere else or do something else. Maybe you don’t want to be around that particular person’s energy or maybe just not right now –– that’s okay. Don’t feel the need to make excuses and just practice saying “no." The people who love you will understand. “No, I can’t do that at this time,” “No, I am not up for seeing anyone,” “No, I don’t want any flowers sent to my house,” “No, I don’t feel like answering your questions.” Some folks in our lives need to learn boundaries and you may find yourself helping others learn your boundaries during times of grief and heartache. All of it is okay –– say no or simply say nothing (until you’re ready to).
If you found this story helpful in any way, check out our other stories here. Happy healing and blessed be.