Excerpt from Light in the Darkness.
There are days when the fog of grief is heavy and the way forward may feel hidden. There are times, moments, days, or sometimes longer when overwhelm visits. This may be prompted by a day of significance or just a tough day. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to get past this:
Take a few deep . . . slow . . . calming . . . breaths.
When we take those deep breaths, it slows down our heart and our mind follows. Even if it’s for a short time, we get that respite. The more we practice, the more natural and easy it comes to us.
Have a plan.
Having that plan reminds us that we have a measure of control. It may be small, but it’s something, and when we are grieving a loss it often feels that much of life is out of our control. What might that plan look like?
- Ask a friend or companion to be beside you during a difficult time.
- Rehearse saying your loved one’s name out loud.
- Call someone who can listen with support and compassion.
Many find it helpful to map out the day or break it down to much smaller, more manageable portions of time— the afternoon, an hour, or even the next few minutes.
Know that it’s alright to feel however you feel.
There is no need to judge your feelings. Emotions are gauges that indicate what is happening within. You might feel sad, nostalgic, joyful, or something else. There are absolutely no rules that say you must feel a specific way as you move through grief. As you accept your feelings, you are more easily able to process and move through them or embrace and expand them if they feel good for you.
Take a bit of exercise.
It may be a walk or run outside, yoga, stretching, lifting weights, or something different. It’s really about what feels good for you. Moving the body helps to move our thoughts, which can shift our perspective and release those endorphins.
Do something kind or thoughtful for someone else.
It may seem counterintuitive when we are struggling to reach out to another to offer kindness or support, but it’s powerful. It reminds us that we matter and that we can make a difference in the world that matters. Research shows that each time we do something for another, whether it be a gesture or even a loving word, our serotonin levels rise. This is even more of a win-win than you might imagine. We benefit, the one who we reach out to benefits, and even those who witness or hear about the kindness experience a rise in serotonin.