A Grief Journey – Beginning, Middle & End

A Grief Journey – Beginning, Middle & End

This Poem Guided the Chapters for the Book Grief’s Abyss Finding the Pathway to Peace

A Journey Most Will Take at Some Point

The Beginning Journey

The river of life flows through us all

Then when a death occurs, we fall

into Grief’s Abyss, a dark unfamiliar place

Down into the valley where we all must face

How to cope with all the changes

when the familiar landscape rearranges

Gone are the roads and highways once travelled

as our lives become unravelled

 

We’ve taken a wrong turn; we’re not meant to be here

We look around us and go into fear

as our compass resets and the road on the map shows

we must follow this path along where the river flows

Through a forest of Grief, this pathway we see

widens and intersects—which to take so we’ll be free?

One road leads to the flatlands, which go on for miles

there is nothing of interest it seems that will bring back smiles

 The Middle

The other has a roundabout with three roads just around a bend

Guilt, anger, and acceptance; oh, when will this journey end

Choose one, for the only way through is to openly mourn

So many people have travelled here long before you were born

Each has found his or her way out and you will too

You will leave this land behind to face life anew

The climb back is steep; let me lead the way

I know you doubt, “How does she know?” I hear you say

Journey’s End

For I have traveled through here some time ago

I got to claim my prize, Grief’s Gifts and I’m now in life’s flow

A review of your journey will show where you’ve been

glimpses of your growth, goals, and purpose all seen

We are all here to welcome you back for we know you are worthy

You’ve been gone for a while on your own a Hero’s journey

Whenever we get back into the river of life that flows through us all,

We’ll take comfort—we have our map and are ready if we fall

into Grief’s Abyss for we know

 

The Wheels of Samsara turn; the cycle of life continues

Written by Anne DeButte

 

Does Grief End?

Does Grief End?

When Does Grief End?

If grief follows the natural sequence of life wouldn’t it stand to reason that there is a beginning, a middle and an ending or does it spiral continuously throughout one’s life?

This is a great question and one that will be different in each case.  For some, they never get over grief but rather learn to live with it.  This is sad because they are not living their lives to its fullest and rather just making do.

Then there are those who believe it will end when it ends.  Research has shown that if you allow yourself to grieve and be with it – then the heavy grieving where you are consumed by tears on a daily basis does begin to subside after about 3 months.

A Family’s Grieving

Let’s look at the question from the point of view of a young child whose has lost her father to death.  Depending on the family dynamics the grief can become prolonged as it goes underground and presents itself later in life at different moments in time.  This was the case for the person who first asked me this question?

I didn’t get the opportunity to delve deeper so what I’m writing now is pure speculation.   Often it will be hard for a widow with children to find time to grieve.  She now has more responsibilities and has to take care of everything including the family.  Her grief can be put on hold.

Perhaps she isn’t comfortable grieving in front of the children so will stop herself if they are around.  They may even hear her crying in her bedroom and wonder why?  Children are amazing and will pick up on this and believe they did something wrong so it’s their fault.

When a child believes this, it can create conflict within them. They don’t know how to deal with these feelings.  To help themselves cope they may develop bad behavior or rebelliousness to help them feel better.   There is the other extreme where they withdraw and try extra hard to always do the right thing. They become good girls or boys.

Growing Up Without Dad

Regardless of how the loss was dealt with or how well they moved on with their lives, their grief may resurface at different times and for different reasons. It is often the milestones in life that tug at our hearts.  Such as, when a young woman marries and is inconsolable at the thought that her dad won’t be by her side.  Or when her children are born, and she realizes her dad will never know them.  These situations can cause her to feel her loss acutely once again.

A young boy may feel resentful of his friends when he sees them with their dad.  Or when his friends are playing sports or going on trips.  It can be at these moments he feels the emotions but doesn’t know how to handle it.  Crying isn’t an option, especially for boys.  Those painful feelings may arise again when he buys his first car or when he buys his first house and it needs fixing.  He can feel the loss of his dad all over again.

So, to answer the question, does grief ever end?  It does end after the first event “the death” itself.  The other losses are the firsts & seconds that I warn my clients about when they face these transitions through their life.  Being aware of them doesn’t stop us from feeling these losses but what it does do is prepare us so that they don’t overwhelm us and we can plan for them.

Life is a series of losses and with each loss comes an opportunity for growth and learning.
This is how as humans, we evolve into expanded versions of ourselves.  If it weren’t for loss when would growth and new learning occur?

Grief then is the alchemy turning our lead into gold and is as much a part of life as birth.

We must welcome in our grief as much as we welcome in our joy.  Grief and Joy walk hand in hand just as surely as grief has a beginning, a middle and end like all emotions if they are given space.

If you’re still wondering if your grief will ever end, I have a solution and I’d love to chat with you more about it.  Please email me at anne@understandinggrief.com and we will set up a time.

There is Life After Death Do You Agree?

There is Life After Death Do You Agree?

Life After Death? 

Yes, indeed, there is life after A death.  I’m sure you were curious to know if I was going to have some conclusive evidence to share with you.  I’m pretty certain there is but that is not my topic for the moment.  Let me explain…….

My Life Changed

November 17, 2011, began as a regular workday just like any other. I would drive to the office, say my hellos as I settled down to work.  This began by me unlocking my computer and while I was waiting, the phone rang and I answered it. I then drove to the hospital to meet mum.  Then two hours later we emerged, arm in arm numb and in shock. It was that one phone call, that would forever change our lives.

Once outside into a cool, overcast November day, pausing to see the traffic on the highway speeding by.  With passers-by walking and talking all going about their business.  To my mind, it seemed all wrong.  Then this urge to scream “STOP, don’t’ you know my dad has just died bubbled up!  It was confusing, their world got to continue while ours had stopped.  I would swallow hard, being British and knowing how mum hated scenes I couldn’t create a fuss.  Instead, I clutched her arm and stoically marched to the car. It was in that moment that I realized no one was coming to rescue us or take charge. We were on our own.

Our life from that moment on became one of business, no time to stop or think.  Just endless To Do lists, “I’ll put the kettle on” would be mum’s mantra.  I can’t even recall drinking any tea, but the kettle went on regardless.

Pivotal Moment #1

On the day of the funeral, it snowed, making everything look clean and fresh.  Odd I recall thinking, it is only mid-November; had snow even been in the forecast? Perhaps this was a message from dad letting me know he was Ok and not to be sad.  We were entering a new beginning for us all; a fresh clean page.  I certainly found it comforting and it allowed me to get through that day.

After the Funeral

There was a certain comfort in returning to work, I had my routine back.  My new routine would include a daily phone call to mum to see how she was. It was after the family returned to their own lives that I began to have trouble sleeping at night.  I no longer had the multiple distractions, instead, I’d awake tired and restless for the day. Eventually, I sought medical help, thinking that perhaps sleeping tablets were the answer.  This visit resulted in me being placed on medical leave.  I felt so guilty and wondered if there was something wrong with me.  Perhaps I was losing grip on reality or even malingering? A few of my colleagues had gone back to work after their parent’s funerals and appeared to be fine.

Seeking Help

I would later seek the help of a psychologist to help me understand what was happening to me.  It was the feelings of guilt that had me looking for answers.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t helpful as he couldn’t understand why I was looking for help so soon.  Good question – I was looking for answers that I didn’t have questions for.  I just needed guidance to help with the guilt and ease the pain.  I didn’t get any there.  Apparently, everyone’s grief is different and it takes time.  Even the books I read didn’t help much,  as they also agreed you never get over grief?  Rubbish, I thought and muddled along.

It didn’t take long for anger at feeling so helpless to show up. Finally, my boss, a surgeon gave me a clue. He called to see how I was doing, when I told him, his response was ”sounds like a reactionary depression”.   A lightbulb moment, if there was a name for it, others must have experienced this as well.  I was normal!  My healing journey continued. It seems people can get so busy with all the arrangements that there is no time to grieve.  This could result in your emotions getting blocked resulting in depression.

Many months later I found a coach to help me further.  A friend had recommended her, she apparently could see spirits. How could I not go to her!  She did healing sessions with angels and then we would look at my core value,  my needs, and my beliefs.  This work helped me connect me with me.  Once I had a plan in my hand I began to feel hopeful and more myself.

My Healing Journey and Pivotal Market #2

Later that year I went on a retreat with my friend who is intuitive and works with flower essence.  Interesting, believing I was healing, my friend would take me deeper into my grief.  It seems music and art are a good way to release any lingering or deep-seated emotions.  The exercise was to relax and listen to music as I was drawing.  The music she chose was jazz. My dad had loved jazz and he was an artist as well, so a fitting exercise for me for sure. How could it not work?

Pixaby; ParentRapAfter a few hours, I needed to move and went for a walk by the ravine behind her house.  There is a bridge to cross and you can see a small stream that eventually flows into a pond.  All was peaceful and still as I walked around.  I heard all this commotion on the way back and saw it was the geese honking and flapping their wings.  I wasn’t sure if they were practicing for flight or deciding who would lead.  As I paused to observed they all took off and flew overhead.  In that moment, I asked the geese to take my grief with them.  I had decided it was time to let it go and return to the land of the living.  I hadn’t realized it at the time, but that was the 1st anniversary of dad’s death.  What a coincidence or was it?

Life Continues – Pivotal Market #3

A few months later I decided to retire.  I realized that dad was not there to be disappointed by my decision to leave a good job with a pension.  That was his belief that and it had worked well for him but not so for me. I retired and 4 days later my next career found me. I would become a grief coach.

There is Life After A Death

As part of my online study course, I received free tickets to an event in LA that my mentor hosted. My daughter, living in London agreed to go with me and we would meet in LA.  It was on the last day of the event, after listening to death regrets stories and doing the exercises, I made a decision.  I announced to the room that I wanted to go on to do the certification program.  Life indeed was too short and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  I had seen my parents put off things in their lives.

Coincidence at work again?  For this would be the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death. It felt right and that I was on the right track.

Remember when  I said earlier that my world had stopped.  Well, it had in a sense for that chapter in my book had come to a close.  The next chapter in my new life without dad had yet to be written.  Perhaps this was why I couldn’t make sense of my life.  Now the next chapters were getting ready to be written.

The snow, the retreat, saying yes, was that Dad giving me comfort and helping me.  I believe Yes, there is life after death and life after A death – I’m living proof of that.

Now, I am happy to say as a grief coach, I can help you find your life after a loss.  If you’d like to find out more, please email anne@reconnect-from-grief.com and let’s connect.

Celebrating Mother’s Day without her?

Celebrating Mother’s Day without her?

How Do You Celebrate Indeed?

You celebrate this day in a way that feels good for you.  These are your emotions, feelings and thoughts, don’t allow this National Day to make you feel your grief more deeply, especially out of guilt.  If you get a sense that you should celebrate it because everyone else is, question why.  If this is your first year without your mom, the rawness felt on this day can almost feel the same as the day of the death.  It is something to be aware of, expect it and don’t expect more of yourself this year.

If you yourself are a mother, this can be doubly hard as your children will want to celebrate you and this may be uncomfortable for you.  If the children are older, it can be an opportunity for you to share how you are feeling about your mom no longer being there physically for you.  It may give your children that opportunity to share how they are feeling without their gran.  Yes, there could be tears but you are teaching your children a valuable lesson.  Your emotions and theirs are an important part of being human and as such, it is OK to allow the tears.  Give them and yourself permission to do so.

Low Key Celebration Perhaps?

If you know you are going to feel emotional, perhaps scale back the celebrations. Have a small brunch at home rather than going out to a restaurant.  Just know it is ok to not celebrate, take the time to be by yourself instead.  Sometimes alone time can be the gift all children can give their moms.  It can be a luxury for them.

Healing your heart will take time as you adjust to the new normal of your mom no longer being there for you, to chat, to hug or offer advice.  Some people say that you will never get over your  loss.  To me, that is their belief and if you choose to believe it also then do so. However, if you believe you will heal, like I do and will move on, then this will be your reality.  I prefer to hold memories of my mother in my heart, thinking about her and our life together with fondness instead of tears.  I chat to her regularly, I keep a picture of us that I see regularly when I’m dusting.  I will share my news with her as if she is still alive.  I believe she would not wish to see me in pain and suffering.

Create a New Ritual

However you celebrated Mother’s Day with your mom, perhaps you could chose to do something different.  It may be to plant a tree or flowers in her honour. Spend some time in quiet contemplation, journaling perhaps or doing something fun for yourself if she was all about fun. Most of all, don’t entertain the “should haves”. Instead create a guilt free day of honouring your mom and the mother you are.  If you never had children, or your own child has died take time to honour you and how you are feeling.  Honour
them both with fresh tears.  When you allow the tears to wash away your sadness, you can make room for your joy to return, giving you strength to appreciate all the good that is in your life.

Good Grief It’s Christmas Time

12 Helpful Tips to Help You Cope

Good Grief its Christmas time indeed. I’ve prepared these 12 tips to help you survive the holiday season. This is the last thing you want to be facing when you are grieving. I’m sure you just want to pull the covers up and go back to sleep until it is all over.  Even worse, the stores are in full-blown Christmas, mode.  Happy, smiling people on TV commercials every five minutes with familiar Carols on every radio station, it’s impossible to ignore the season. The countdown is on to party time, bright lights and having fun.

Normally, you too would be among friends and family enjoying the frantic beauty of the season. This year you are dreading the season, especially now you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one. My heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one at this time of year.  Both my parents passed away in November. Even though it’s extremely difficult, you can survive the holidays. In this guide, I’ve listed several things that helped me to cope with my losses and it’s my hope these tips will help you, too.

1. Accept Where You Are. Just for now

If you’re experiencing grief, late November until the beginning of a new year can be very difficult. It’s a challenge for everyone to navigate, especially when you are grieving, it can feel like climbing a mountain. You may have noticed that your energy is low and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about anything during the holidays.

Everything seems like such a chore. You may find it’s hard to stay focused. These are all normal feelings for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. You may already dread facing the biggest holiday in the calendar year without that special someone. If you had your wish, you might just hibernate until Groundhog Day in February.

While hibernation may not be possible, choosing to skip the season with all the emotional triggers and potential pitfalls could be an option for you.

It is great that you have at least noticed your emotional state and for now, perhaps you could accept these feelings just for the moment? By not accepting how you are feeling and pushing through anyway, you may experience even more pain and anguish.

Just know it’s natural to have thoughts like “I have to be brave” or “It’s expected of me. I always host”, or “The house always looks so wonderful, how can I not participate this year?” These thoughts can send your flying into planning mode and then you may totally exhaust yourself long before the big day. You may even create arguments with family members or friends because you are frustrated, hurting and overwhelmed.

Grief work is exhausting and its main function is to stop us in our tracks so that we’ll take the time to deal with our emotions and reflect on our loss. In today’s fast-paced world this is a lovely dream but often it’s far from our reality.

Grief is about a broken heart and not a broken head. This is why we can, at times, push through using the sheer power of our minds. Your heart hasn’t caught up to your head. Your heart needs time to process. Your heart isn’t in the task so you will find yourself pushing yourself using sheer mind power – and this is exhausting. Instead of muscling through, stop, take a deep breath and settle your mind.

You may still be outwardly mourning and please know this is normal, most especially if your loss is a recent one. You want things to remain the same because there is comfort in routine. The feeling you are experiencing could be fear which can cause your resistance to the many inner changes brought about by a loss. Just know that by resisting you are holding on to the past, which is only natural. After all, who really enjoys change? However, accepting that there will be many changes may be helpful. Perhaps guilt is holding you back.

If you feel it doesn’t seem right that you should be enjoying yourself or even laughing and having fun when you’re loved one has just passed away please know this is normal. Many in grief have expressed the same sentiment. But if you think about it, wouldn’t your loved one want you to laugh and have fun? It is hard on the body to be constantly sad and grieving. Laughter is a way of balancing the body’s emotions. Give yourself this gift. Laugh when you feel like laughing. It will release some of the tension along with some natural endorphins.

Regardless of where you are in your grief process, perhaps this is the right moment to sit down and relax. Start by taking a few deep breaths in and out. Begin by sitting for at least five minutes. Find a quiet place with no distractions. This will bring your mind into the present moment and once it is focused there you can start to think more logically and plan how Christmas will look like for you and your family this year

2. Make your Christmas Season Plans

Have your calendar handy and look ahead at how you would like the holiday season to unfold. Armed with this information, you can move through the season with less pain and anguish.

If you always host Christmas dinner, decide if you want to continue to do so. Perhaps ask another family member take over just for this year. If that is too much change, then start by discussing your thoughts with other family members. They may be having similar thoughts and this way you can support each other through this tender time.

Consider Scaling Back

You may decide to scale down the decorations. Perhaps you would still enjoy this activity but on a much smaller scale. Decide if it will make you feel better or worse. Try to be honest with yourself and don’t feel guilty about whatever choice you make. You may decide to hold a decorating afternoon with a few family members a few weeks before Christmas day to help you from getting too overwhelmed or tired.

Once you have a better idea of what you would like, you will be able to start taking small action steps each day to make it a reality. You will know once you begin, just how much energy and desire you actually have. Know it is okay to tell the family if you are unable to do the tasks you thought you could do. Ask for help.

Should you decide to host, you could ask some family members to come early on Christmas day to help you with the meal preparation. Even better you could ask who would be willing to cook certain items of the meal. It may be hard to give up control of the meal this way but it is just for this year. Accept the additional help.

The hardest decision of all will be whether or not to set a place at the table where your loved one used to sit. Again it is much better to decide what you would prefer before the day. Discuss this concern with your family. Doing so will put you and your family members at ease. If you chose not to set a place, you may want to mention the deceased by name before the start of your dinner.

Your family may hold back from wanting to mention the person for fear of upsetting you. Don’t worry – mention them, it will be such a relief to you and your guests. The unspoken has now been spoken and everyone including you can relax.

3. Choose a New Tradition

As you plan for the holiday season, take time to recall if there was a specific thing you did with the person who has died. It may be this thought that is holding you back from wanting to make plans. Perhaps it was the tree you chose together or decorating the tree together. Recognizing the activity that made it special for you and your loved one will help you avoid a potential trigger point.

Allow yourself to feel this emotion and when you have finished, decide if there is a new tradition you could now create for yourself. Perhaps you could buy a readily dressed tree. This could help save you much time and energy.

Speaking from personal experience, going to the Candlelight service on Christmas Eve with my family was the tradition that held the most emotion. The year my Dad died I found the idea of attending the service just too emotional for me so we didn’t go.

Instead, we spent time relaxing rather than rushing our supper in order to get to the service. It turned out to be enjoyable and much more relaxing for us. We created a new tradition. So give yourself permission to try something different instead, something that will work for you.

4. Ask for Help

Much of this has already been covered however it bears repeating. When you are in grief, your energy is not optimal and you may find most things, even thinking, can exhaust you, especially if the loss is recent. Even after many years, the holidays can still hold emotional triggers so be kind to yourself, recognize your limitations and ask for help.

It is such a gift to those who have already volunteered when you do call on them for help. This is the perfect opportunity to do so. Make sure you ask them well ahead of time so as not to be disappointed. The holidays are a busy time for most of us, so, it is important to make your plans early in order to see just what help you need and who could potentially help you.

Accept and allow yourself to be helped. Receive it with an open heart. Too often we close people down by shutting out their offers of help. Give yourself an early gift and them also. Remember it isn’t always better to give. I am certain you have given help so many times that you have built up a giving balance by now – it is time to redeem it. Just for this year anyway.

5. Avoid the Sugar Highs and Lows

If you decide to attend Christmas parties over the holidays, please be careful with the sugary treats and alcohol (sugar). This is hard to do at the best of times but when you’re grieving you are already on an emotional roller coaster and adding more sugar, or alcohol, to your diet could make your emotions worse. Where your emotions are concerned, you do not need the additional sugar rush to help you peak on the highs or lows because you are already doing so. Mourning has enough ups and downs.

Instead, make sure you eat throughout the day and please do not think that by not eating during the day you can enjoy more food later. When a person is grieving the body needs fuel to keep you going so don’t shortchange yourself. If you aren’t able to eat much because you just are not hungry, be sure to go easy if you have a glass of wine or a cocktail. It is not a good idea to have alcohol on an empty tummy.

Remember to eat something before you have a drink. Make sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking water. In grief, the body requires more fluid due to all the tears that are flowing. If you do decide to drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between.

6. Remove the Pasted Happy Face

You may unknowingly put on a Happy Face to help yourself feel better or to help put others at ease. Please don’t force it. It doesn’t serve you but instead prevents you from truly feeling your emotions. A Happy Face is a mask and in many instances, people around you can tell what you are feeling just by your body language. Your face and body are giving two different messages. Being authentic and true to yourself will help you move through your grief process more easily. Masking your feelings only lengthens the process.

Remember:  the only way through grief is to feel it. When others ask you how you are it is much better to let them know you are not doing well. Be honest. There’s no need to elaborate but if they press you, it’s okay to let them know right now isn’t a good time and suggest another time, after the holidays, to talk.  On the other hand, if you feel like talking, express yourself. This way you’re acknowledging what you are feeling and not discounting what is going on inside.

I have found by recognizing what is coming up for me, acknowledging it and giving myself permission to cry later or tomorrow works nicely. This way I can schedule in some time by journaling or reflecting and allowing my emotions to bubble up. This is all part of good self-care

7. Decide to Speak About the Deceased?

The thought of mentioning the deceased’s name can be upsetting and you may not be comfortable doing so. Your family members and guests may be uncomfortable as well and not know how to deal with the subject. Speaking about the person first will help to put you and everyone else more at ease. You will be addressing the “elephant in the room”.

Acknowledge the deceased person and invite others to do the same. You may find you will hear more stories that you were not aware of and be happier for the sharing. It could be emotional, to begin with, however, it will help you the more times you can talk about your loss. My mum and I were never good at this and in the beginning, we both avoided mentioning Dad. As upsetting as it was for us, I am sure had we decided to talk about him we would have better comforted each other, instead of being mindful of not upsetting the other.

If you chose not to speak about your loss you may find yourself feeling ill at ease and on edge in case, their name is mentioned in the conversation. It is so much more freeing to share and allow yourself to be supported.

8. Going to Parties

This may be a good year to cut down on the number of parties you attend. As mentioned earlier, your energy levels will be lower than normal. This is why planning out what you would like to do this season will help you with these decisions. It’s ok to cancel; your hostess will understand. Do not feel obliged to attend because you agreed to months ago.

Decide if smaller parties would be more manageable. In my grief, I couldn’t attend the larger parties as the mere thought of large gatherings was too overwhelming. But smaller gatherings were more manageable and it felt good to go as it was a nice change of pace.

Often in grief, we can get caught up in the guilt of “I can’t enjoy myself right now. It isn’t right”. Sometimes a change of scenery and pace can do a world of good for boosting the spirits. If you decide to attend one or two perhaps by thinking ahead you could plan your exit strategy should you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

You may decide to only spend a couple of hours and have a friend make sure to check on you at a specified time. Make sure to bring separate cars or book a taxi if needed. Speak to the hostess before the party and let her know you will attend but may need to leave early and coming to find her to thank her may not be an option. This way you can safely leave with no guilt.

9. Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping is challenging enough even if you’re not grieving. Perhaps you are the organized one who shops all year for the perfect gift for your family and friends. However, too many of us, myself included, leave it to the last month or moment. This is another great opportunity to add shopping for gifts to your list of growing activities.

You may feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it so if this is the case perhaps online shopping could be your answer. This way you are not using your precious energy to battle the crowds or parking lots.  Thank yourself for being aware of your feelings, take deep breaths. Have a cup of tea and start to plan your list of who you would like to buy for and what the gift idea may be. Go to your computer and start your shopping in peace.

Perhaps decide that you will take this opportunity to cut back and simplify your gift giving. This is what we did as a family when my Dad died. We introduced the idea of secret Santa and put a price limit on the gift. Our children are all young adults however, they are either starting out on their own or still at school so they never seem to have sufficient funds. This way we all only had one gift to buy, cutting down the stress financially and mentally thinking of and then purchasing the perfect gift for everyone.

One Christmas we decided to each name a charity and send money to them instead of gift giving. It is still lovely to have the gifts under the tree so we do both but keep it simple. I hope this will give you a few ideas.

10. Self-Care

You now have your plan, or at least, a much better idea of what action you can take each day. Don’t forget to add one action item in there for yourself. Self-care is so important and something we all need to focus on especially during times of grief.

Take time each day to do something fun for yourself. This can be as simple as a five-minute breathing exercise before your day begins, taking a walk in nature, reflecting over a cup of tea or coffee or all of the above. Scheduling in time to see your hairdresser, have a massage or pedicure can also do wonders for you.

When you are grieving, your energy is low and you will need to take care of your emotions. The urge to do nothing is always strong, however, it is essential to practice self-care each day together with some action steps. These simple actions will help you gain some control over your life and that will help to reinvigorate your confidence as you complete them.

Balance in everyday life is always a good way to live, however not easy to accomplish. This is even harder when you are grieving and are a part of the workforce. Finding ways to take care of yourself is even more essential and will help you better deal with your stress levels.

Ensure you practice doing something for yourself each day. You may feel you do not have the time, however, everyone needs a break. Take two minutes for yourself, close your eyes and slow your breathing down by taking three or four deep breaths. This alone can help you balance your stress. You may find you are more alert after you have taken a little time out.

11. Water is your friend

Drink plenty of water. This is so important especially in the early days when tears and weeping are more constant. Weeping takes more fluid from your body than you may realize. Our bodies work well on six to eight glasses of water and waiting until your thirsty is a sure sign you are dehydrated. Instead of reaching for more coffee, why not put the kettle on and have a cup of hot lemon water if you are not a fan of cold water.

If you need a sugar fix, add honey to the lemon water. Hot water with a slice of ginger can help warm you up. If you workout, you may need to add additional water just to keep your body working optimally. It is not only our bodies that require water our brains do as well. In grief, our brains can feel foggy so by not drinking enough, you could be adding to the brain fog.

Our brains cannot retain water so need a ready supply in the body to function optimally. Remember to drink and as a reminder, have a glass of water around your work area.

12. Give Yourself Permission

Congratulations! You have made it, you have your plan and you know what your holiday season and Christmas Day will look like. You have your list of who to call for help and you also have an idea of which holiday parties you would like to attend. The presents have been decided or you have a clearer idea of what your gift giving will be this year.

Now is the time to leave guilt and judgment at the door and give yourself permission to laugh and enjoy the season with your friends and family members. You will be relaxed and may even be looking forward to it instead of dreading it. You will have your wobbly moments but with your plan, you will have a way to take care of these moments. By planning ahead, you can be comfortable and relaxed knowing everything you have chosen for this year is taken care of and in good order.

One last thing:  something may not go according to plan. Relax, let go and enjoy the imperfect but perfect situation and laugh. You can’t control everything.

Happy Holidays to all

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