In this guest blog I am sharing the wisdom of Grief Recovery Specialist, Allison James, from The Grief Recovery Institute. I hope you find this blog helpful.
During this unusual time of Coronavirus self-isolation, it’s important you take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. That can be more difficult than ever dealing with so much change, right?
The world is saying, “Hey, you can’t do this” when you are used to your normal daily routine. In most cases,
You can’t go to work.
You can’t get a break from the kids.
You can’t do many of your favorite outdoor activities.
You can’t get to the gym or yoga class.
You can’t get coffee with your friends
You can’t go out to dinner with your family.
You can’t attend your church or other spiritual gatherings.
You can’t go to the grocery store without wearing a face covering.
COVID-19 has bluntly forced us to realize that we simply can’t change what’s happening in the outside world.
Not only that, but we’re grieving.
“Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
The good news is, we all can take responsibility for our actions and reactions. This isn’t a popular idea, but it’s true.
Taking responsibility through self-care
If you’ve been on social media in the past few weeks you’ve probably seen articles, lists and infographics about how important it is to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and to stick to a structured daily routine. These things are important.
It’s also important to take care of your heart!
So how do you do that?
Don’t be strong. Be honest. Tell the truth about yourself all the time. It’s important to get your sad feelings out even though our culture only talks about positive and happy feelings. When you tell the truth about your emotional pain, and share first, it makes it safe for others to tell the truth about how they feel. Plus, if you don’t take care of yourself first then you won’t be emotionally available to be there for others.
Trust your intuition. As children we all were very intuitive. Over time we learned to rely on intellectual rather than gut instinct. That doesn’t mean our intuitions are wrong, it just means we don’t always listen to them anymore. If you have got a thought to call or send a card to someone trust your intuition and do it. They might need a friendly ear, they might end up sharing something that helps you, or they may be sick and it’s your last chance to say goodbye to them.
Take time to connect with others. Social and physical distancing can feel an awful lot like isolation. The opposite of action of isolating is participating. Some great ways to participate are:
Hopping on a video chat.
Calling someone on the phone.
Asking people you live with to take a break from TV, video games or reading to play a board game or do a puzzle together.
Engage on social media. If you see that someone posted about the difficult time they are having, you might simply comment that it breaks your heart to hear that they’re feeling this way. Even a sad face emoji is a far more positive response to their pain than ignoring it. That opens the door to have another person you can connect with.
Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. It’s easy to go on social media and think everyone else has it together, but remember, our society has taught us that it’s not okay to be honest about painful or negative feelings. That means you’re not always seeing the whole story. Just because you saw one person finish writing a novel or building a new fence, doesn’t mean that you’re expected to do the same, nor does it mean that they aren’t struggling as well. Even though we all are having a similar experience of self-quarantine that doesn’t mean we are all in the same situation and have the same feelings. We are each having a unique experience.
Stop searching for reasons to justify being upset. I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to blame politicians or the news media, judge other people, or point the finger at who is and is not behaving the way I think they should. It’s pretty human to do these things,, but at some point we have to take a look at what we can do to stay sane, safe and take responsibility for our own frustrations and feelings. I tend to blame others for my situation a lot more when I’m watching the news or scrolling endlessly on social media. So I need to take breaks from both. How about you?
Looking for support?
Canadian Grief Recovery Method Specialist, Tammy Adams loves to problem solve, inspire and motivate others who are ready and committed to change. Tammy has spent over 30 years in the field of education and as a Certified Life and Executive Coach Tammy teaches individuals to challenge and conquer their limiting beliefs and insecurities to create the life of their choosing. As a Grief Recovery Method Specialist Tammy understands that unresolved grief can limit an individual’s capacity for happiness and is gifted at supporting individuals through the pain and isolation cause by an emotional loss, of any kind, to a place of happiness they believed no longer existed. Tammy’s clients say, “Tammy helped me unpack the baggage and put a smile on my face in the process. It’s a rare quality for someone to fully listen without judgement but yet still steer you in the right direction.”