If you’ve gone through any period of loss recently; whether that is the loss of a loved one who passed away, a relationship/divorce, loss of a friendship, or loss of a job…. this time of year can seem really heavy.
It’s easy to get emotional and tied to certain triggers. The other day I felt particularly miserable and wallowed in self pity at the grocery store. I was riding my bike home and started to get tears in my eyes and then before I knew it I was full on crying. I’m not sure if it was the blindness of my soaked lashes but all of a sudden, a man opened his car door as I was passing and I ran straight into it. I was shocked, my eggs went flying from my basket and I just fell off the seat, crying a little harder. Like I did NOT f-ing need that. The man felt TERRIBLE and he was saying (in Turkish) I’m so sorry, can I help you, are you ok? are you hurt? can I pay for your eggs? …. At least I think he said all those things… I was half paying attention and trying to put myself together. I was going slow enough that the only thing that really suffered were my damn eggs. But I rode away feeling like that could have been the lowest I felt in a while.
Even as a coach I’m human enough to experience emotions that let me know – I’m HUMAN, and I’m not perfect. Tears are good to let it all out. That afternoon I gathered myself and reminisced about a conversation I had that morning with a Turkish woman who told me that there’s no word for grief in that language. I looked it up and there is a word “keder or aci” but maybe she meant that people don’t use it or express it. We talked about her father passing and how people in her culture just wanted her to get over it. I can’t account for this being the general consensus of all of Turkey. But I know that in America – grief is interesting to encounter. We try not to cry in public, and god forbid – at work. We suffer in silence or use alcohol or drugs to numb us. This isn’t necessarily a strictly American trait but I’ve seen it a lot in my culture. I’ve also been there myself.
So when I started to think about how we can realistically feel better I came up with this list:
Let yourself feel it – and be ok with not being ok.
Putting on a brave face is only making those around you feel less uncomfortable. If you need to be hot mess by yourself, give yourself that safe space to cry, throw things, punch a pillow, scribble on paper…. whatever, just let it out. If you keep those emotions pent up – they are bound to explode in other ways you can’t see coming.
Put on some music that makes you happy
Maybe it’s not the “Happy” song or holiday tunes that just bring you back to tears. Put on some sounds that bring joy to your body and a smile to your face. For me, Alanis Morissette does this. It reminds me when I was a rowdy teenager with infinite possibilities and a rebel with a cause. I’m probably dating myself but find that Tom Cruise moment in Jerry Maguire in his Free Fallin’ moment.
Fresh air and nature or even city scapes offer therapeutic escapes and enable us to see a bigger picture. Take a look at the bugs crawling or look up and see the bird flying. If you’re around other people, look into their eyes as you walk by and notice that we are all in this big universe and we all have our daily struggles. We survive and we thrive and being out amongst the land of the living will give you more comfort in knowing that you’re able to breathe the air and live another beautiful day.
Workout that hot bod
Take a walk, go for a run, do some yoga – anything that gets your blood pumping and your brain firing on all synapses. Endorphins are POWERFUL healers. When we are connecting our mind and body, we’re able to feel more deeply to the pain we may be feeling but also the power to feel in control of that pain. To be in control of our body movements and understand the connections to everything that makes us whole. Maybe don’t try to go and run a marathon, but take it to your own level and allow yourself to feel your body recharge with energy or overpower your worries.
Call a friend or relative
Deliberate isolation will only re-create sadness and let loneliness fester. You may feel like you’re in it by yourself but there’s SOMEONE out there that is dying to hear from you even if you just saw them yesterday. It’s great to have alone time but when you’re feeling miserable and just in a nostalgia loop – talk to someone who may be having their own grief and you may have no idea. There’s been times when I call my sister to vent about something and she tells me she’s having a wine after a particularly shitty week and we drink wine/coffee (very different time zones) and have a laugh about something inevitably.
There’s nothing better than something to look forward to. See in to the future and setting goals is a brilliant mindset to be in. Think about how many times that’s gotten you through your dull work days. This doesn’t have to be a big expensive trip. It could be a pot-luck gathering over the weekend or a movie on a weeknight. I would encourage you to try to get out of your comfort zone if you are starting to plan a getaway. I love how making a trip around a very uncertain place can get me curious and involved in the prospects of being surprised.
Make a GRATEFUL list
When I was having this bad day and when you’re deep in that hole – it feels like nothing can pull you out. Start to think about all the good things you have in life right now.
- I have a roof over my head
- I have a loving family I can call anytime
- I am healthy
- I am educated and have wonderful experiences
It will make you trip the negative loop and start to feel more satisfied for what you have in your life and the fact that you can’t control what has happened to make you grieve. You are human. Feel it, but also know YOU have the power to move forward and shift into a different mindset. And if you need to talk to someone, I am here to listen. 🙂
In deep unwavering gratitude,