Living Thoughtfully: Coming Back to Grief

Photo by yanalya / www.freepik.com

We’ve been hearing from a lot of our clients, colleagues, families, and friends that coming off of the Memorial Day weekend, people are heavy with grief, exhaustion, and frustration. We’re writing this week to let you know that if that’s your experience you’re not alone, and you’re not crazy.

For most of the USA, Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer—schools are winding down, vacations are visible in the upcoming months, picnics and outdoor concerts are added to our calendars, and visits with friends and family increase. Yet, this year we return to ongoing social distancing, increased expectations of wearing a mask when we’re out in the world, and the realization that this isn’t done.

We won’t have summer in the way many of us have come to count on it for most of our lives.

As you bump into this grief, exhaustion, and frustration we suggest you do some or all of the following to honor what a disruptive, disappointing, and disconnecting time this is:

NAME IT.
  • Really. To yourself and others, name that you’re grieving, cranky, and worn down. This doesn’t have to be done in a complaining way (and you don’t need to act cranky with others), but saying it out loud often helps to diffuse the feelings in you and creates a shared sense of how crazy-making this time feels.
  • If you find yourself feeling more and more sad, depressed, or anxious reach out to your primary care provider or to a therapist for support. This is not a statement of weakness but of you claiming your power to take action on your own behalf because you matter!
DO WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW.
  • Connect with people you love.
    • Do whatever you can to connect safely with people who matter to you. Don’t wait until this is over. Get it on your schedule today.
    • There are now a ton of ways to spend time with people you love safely face-to-face-ish. In our worlds, we’ve seen families playing cards using Trickster.com and others playing Scattergories by sending out the prompts to use for the game. We’ve heard of talent shows and Jeopardy-like questions to get people talking about themselves in new ways. And, we’ve heard of shared lunches, dinners, and happy hours.
    • Is it the same? No, it’s not, but it helps nurture and support loving connections, and they matter.
  • Get outside safely and mingle with the grass and trees.
    • We know that’s harder in cities or for those of you dependent on public transportation, but we encourage you to look for ways to do so. If you don’t want to have to wear a mask, walk in the mornings or early evenings, meet in parks or yards where you can easily maintain 6 – 10 feet of distance, or take a bike ride being very thoughtful as you pass people.
    • There’s more and more evidence that being outside mitigates the passage of the virus.
  • Move your body.
    • We’re hearing from so many of you that you’re sitting more as you talk with people virtually. Losing all of the steps we used to experience just walking through the office adds up. Reduced steps and not working out can lead to gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and dampening your mood.
    • Look for small ways to move throughout your day and 30-minute-plus time blocks for more sustained exercise. For those of you who have no room or resources to add workout equipment, consider other ways to move.
    • Try the dance group from Seattle called DanceChurch. It’s not a religious dance, but because it takes place on Sunday mornings and honors the body, it was named DanceChurch. Or, simply put on some music that helps you move for 4 – 5 minutes a day at different times of the day.
    • It will make a difference!
REST MORE.
  • Everything that we’re dealing with is taxing our brains and our energies. Period.
  • Give yourself permission to nap, go to bed a little earlier or sleep a little later, or to take breaks in the workday to stare off into space—even for a few minutes.
  • Many people find meditation helpful. Some people find the word ‘meditation’ intimidating, but really it means taking time to breathe and open to yourself and to the wisdom of the universe. There are a host of free apps that can support you with teaching you the “how to’s” of meditation. While meditation isn’t hard and can be done anywhere, to not judge your meditation skills can be the biggest challenge. Remember, there isn’t a right way to meditate, there is just your way.
As we enter June, see if you can add some of these ideas to your routine so that you can move through the grief of losing your planned summer and open to the one that is here.
    We’re here if you need our support.

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