Smiling provides a mental mood boost. It also releases cortisol and endorphins in your body. These hormones help improve your health by reducing blood pressure, increasing your in endurance, reducing pain and stress, and ultimately promoting a much needed strengthening to your overall immune system to help ward off sickness in this post COVID environment we now live in. As much as we love to smile, we equally understand there will be times in our life that we may exhibit emotions quite the opposite. At those times, no matter who you are, what you have acquired, who you may or may not know you will encounter grief. Grief is not associated with just death. An individual can also experience grief after going through divorce, battling a life threatening disease, becoming an empty nester, becoming newly retired, losing a limb, losing employment, and/or being homeless. These life experiences also can cause grief and very surprisingly the emotions from the experience can cause grief very similar if not the same as that of grief over the loss of life. Either way, grief can cause negative things to occur in the brain. Grief causes a flood gate to open releasing neurochemicals and hormones racing around in your head. These hormones can cause disruptive symptoms such as disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, fatigue and even anxiety ultimately negatively affecting your brain’s functioning. Even worst for you these effects can increase the onset of trouble concentrating, memory loss, the inability to multitask, the appearance of being unorganized and appearing to be all over the place to others, or not attached to anything or anyone around you. In the book, I describe this as feelings of being in a foreign land. My world as I had once knew it was gone, and I felt as if I was lost to how to move forward, even scarier I couldn’t communicate what I was truly feeling. I moved on autopilot totally disconnected to the world around me. I grieved in silence ultimately causing a disruption to my cognitive abilities and health. Greif is different for everyone, but to simply put it, your ability to function the same prior to being in your perfect world of total bliss and contentment is quite the opposite and closer to the truth you may feel over whelmed, sleep deprived, and lost. I am here to help and offer you hope with this blog. You can pick up the pieces of your broken heart, clear grief’s fog on your thoughts, and resume a happy life of living, loving, and yes laughing. Below are 5 keys to gaining a new normal and moving on to live the happy life your loved one prayed to God that you have.
1. Practice makes perfect!! So, practice, practice, and practice self-care. As women we are naturally nurturers. We tend to focus on others and negate ourselves. Now, is the time for you to take time to focus on yourself? How do I do that you probably are asking. You do that by eating well, getting plenty of rest, and getting up, out, and moving with exercise that will get your blood pumping. Seems pretty simple, but guess what it’s very difficult because when you are grieving you just want to stay in bed, not eat, or hardly move. The practice part comes in because you will need to do this tomorrow, the next day, week, month, and year and eventually you will start to look, feel, and ultimately improve your cognitive abilities, and overall health.
2. Take time off. Many will tell you to stay busy. In fact, I tried doing that myself. Operating on autopilot detached from the world around you does not prevent grieving instead it only delays it. So, it may be more wise to take time off and allow yourself time to process and adjust to your new normal. Of course, you have got to earn a living, raise children, and etc. but you can’t do any of that if your health fails you. Yes, you indeed need to stay in the game, but even the star player takes a seat off the court or ball field to rejuvenate. So, you need to do the same if you are going to resume being your great, phenomenal, and badass self. Because you are the star player, you get to set your own rules and decide when you ready to get back in the game.
3. Find happiness in fond memories of your loved one. Yes, you will have sad moments and that is perfectly okay and who wouldn’t, but do try not to dwell long in those dark places for extensive periods of time. Acknowledge that you are having low moments, but do try to move to focusing on the blessing you shared with your loved one. Stay away from falling prey to negative thoughts and the negative self-talk of should da, could da, and would da. Negative self-talk is a dangerous place to put yourself in and an even harder place to pull yourself out of. Remember what I told you about smiling early in this blog.
4. Support is everything. So, don’t avoid help. God knows and sees everything. He is so awesome and with him favor ain’t ever been fair! God has put some amazing people in your path to give you exactly what you need at this difficult time in your life. God’s angels are on standby waiting to be at your beck and call on a moment’s notice. Some are singers, others dancers, siblings, besties, pastors, prayer partners, co-workers, and some even great writers…..hint, hint bloggers who write encouraging words. God knew I would write this blog because he knew you needed to read it. J The church, support groups, family, friends, and/or people who have also suffered a loss similar to yours may better understand what you are going through and able to be a comforting shoulder to lean on. Let them in and don’t close them out. If that’s not working and you are really struggling, please consider a professional counselor they are trained and able to be great listeners without judgement.
5. Focus on the positive in this experience. If there is such a thing, do try and focus on the positives. There is an appointed time and place for everything and everybody. Blessing exist in sad times as well as good times. We have to have the courage, faith, and hope to look for the silver lining. God is still in the blessing business, and he is the best assurance available that with him you can pull through even this, and be okay if not better for it. Trust the process even though you don’t understand. It will not be easy, but it will happen. Your loved one does not want you unhappy and neither does God.
Bottom line whether your grief is due to the loss of life, a broken relationship, loss of limb, or the loss of a furry friend the pain does not have to be infinite, the struggle is real, but you can and will recover. I can wait to see your smiling face again. Wishing you God’s Blessings on your journey. Happy Saturday!