We all will experience grief of sorts in our life and yet it is rarely talked about. So when we are confronted with grief we often don’t know how to navigate through it, we get stuck.
I’ve been journeying through grief now for 12 years. My journey started when my step-father passed away suddenly in 2008 and has continued these past 6 years as I’ve navigated through recurrent second-trimester pregnancy loss. I’m well acquainted with grief; we’ve become good buddies butting heads every now and then.
As I’ve navigated through this journey here are a few things that have been helpful for me in my journey.
- A Few Good People
Surrounding myself with a few good people who are empathetic and understand the complexities of my journey in one way or another has been life saving. This doesn’t mean all the people on my “few good people” list have experienced the death of a step-parent or have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. But, they are acquainted with grief of sorts and are able to sit with me in my pain and grief. Here are some of the qualities I’ve noticed in these people.
- They listen
- They ask questions when I’m receptive, and change the subject when I don’t want to talk about it
- They make me laugh (and laughter is oh so healing - yay for those endorphins)
- They don’t minimize my pain or make me explain it away
- They make me feel safe, comfortable, and important
- They hold space for all my questions without the need to provide answers
- They are willing to say “fuck this shit” and drink a bottle of wine with me
Find these few good people in your life, and hold onto them. You’ll need them.
- Space and Time to Grieve
I’ve given myself the permission to take space from others and grieve in my own time. This means when I’m invited to things that may be too difficult to attend, I don’t go, and I don’t feel the need to provide an explanation. I also have not put a timeline on my grief. I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t just resolve or go away, but rather it becomes integrated into my life. I’ve allowed myself to feel all the feelings as they come, regardless of when they come.
- A Good Journal (physical or digital)
Writing has become cathartic to me. It often takes me a long time to process my thoughts and emotions, and writing has been a great way for me to gather and write down all of the feels. It helps me to release anxious thoughts so they are no longer repeating like a broken record in my mind. It has also helped me to unpack the layers of trauma I have experienced over the years.
I’ve come to learn the hard way that our bodies store trauma. And as our bodies store trauma it begins to erode at our holistic health. Not only does trauma lead to mental health struggles, it can lead to serious health and physical conditions if left unchecked. “Because our bodies and emotions can only safety handle a limited amount of stress, trauma results whenever an experience exceeds our abilities to handle and cope with its consequences. The energy of the trauma is stored in our bodies’ tissues until it can be released.” (Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Learning How to Unlock Tissue Memory). Combining therapy with physical movement such as yoga or pilates can help release stored trauma and assist the healing process.
- Creative Outlet
Learning how to crochet and starting my business literally saved my life. Prior to starting josiah+co. I was stuck in a deep depression and grief and contemplated ending my life. Picking up a crochet hook saved me, literally. Having a creative outlet can help ease anxiety and depression, help your mind to focus on something other than grief, and create a sense of accomplishment. You could try crocheting or knitting, painting, drawing, writing, pottery… the possibilities are endless.
- Health + Wellness Professionals
Last but not least, health + wellness professionals. Finding a good therapist, massage therapist, and naturopath/acupuncturist has been an integral part of my healing journey. As I mentioned above, our bodies store trauma, and this has been another way that I am able to release that trauma from my body.
There are so many different tools that can help us heal in our grief journeys. These have been my top 6. Some others that have been helpful are pausing and taking deep breaths, nutritious foods, retail therapy, rest and sleep, and we can’t forget laughter. What are your top grief essentials? You can comment below if you’d like to share. I’d love to hear!
Till next time friends.