My phone rang. I answered and was met with a panicked friend demanding to know where I was right that second. I told her, wondering why she was so distraught. In a rush of words she told me that an animal rights activist friend of ours had been killed. She wanted to make sure I wasn't at the scene where it happened.
There's no way life prepares any of us for this kind of shock and devastation. Most of the time many of us in the West are blessed to be able to walk through our days sheltered from severe trauma and Grief. But sometimes awful things happen. There's no choice but to face them, hard as it may be.
I'm writing this blog to share some of the ways that I move through Grief. I always use a capitol 'G' for Grief because it is a big thing. It makes many people uncomfortable and it's not discussed in polite company. I want to share my tools so that when you encounter loss you can move through it with as much grace as possible.
Initially I felt numb. Shocked that such a kind, graceful person had been taken in such a violent way. I had to go into the bank and act normal. After that I drove to the lake with my dogs and just stared at the water. I cried. I cried for my friend, I cried for our community, I cried about the injustice.
Here are some of the ways that I process Grief
1) Cry- Most of us aren't comfortable with crying, especially in front of others. Crying is a great way to process and release your emotions. Holding things in doesn't do you any good. In fact it creates more stress and tension in your body. Ever notice how you feel better after a good cry? Crying actually helps relieve stress, and pain. It's actually really soothing. If you're embarrassed to cry in public, find a safe space and allow yourself the time to release your emotions.
2) Sleep- I consider sleep to be a super power. When you've experienced loss or Grief sleep can be very beneficial in terms of helping your body to relieve stress and tension. Sleep also helps to rebalance your hormones. It's also very beneficial for mood.
3) Adequate Nutrition- It can be very tempting after loss or trauma to self soothe with junk food and alcohol. For many people eating sugary, processed, fried or other junk foods goes back to childhood. For many, it's how their parents helped them feel better when they were upset. Focus on eating nutrient dense whole plant foods and superfoods. When you're experiencing Grief your body is going through an extreme stress. Whenever your body is stressed it's using lots of antioxidants, especially the B vitamins and Vitamin C. By giving your body nutrient dense whole pant foods and superfoods you're giving your body the tools it needs to heal on a cellular level.
4) Gentle Movement- If you're someone who's very active you may find the Grief makes you want to do nothing. Or maybe your body feels heavy or even jarred depending on what you're dealing with. Listen to your body. Rest. Gentle yoga or a walk is often the best way to move the energy, especially the emotional energy, in your body. Intense workouts may actually make you feel worse rather than better. Take time to rest if you need to. I found that walking is so healing for me when I'm processing heavy losses. It's low impact, uses the whole body and allows the energy to move. After my husband died suddenly in 2012 I must have walked hundreds of miles all over Toronto. Each foot step helped me to process and heal.
5) Talk to a friend or a therapist- Getting out your emotions and expressing your Grief will help you move through more easily than holding everything in. If you have an empathetic friend who can listen to you and support you, talk out what you're feeling. Otherwise use the services of a professional. It's well worth the investment. Your mental health is so important, especially when you're dealing with Grief.
I hope you find these tools to be helpful. Next week I'll share some more tools. If there's anything you need support with please contact me. I'll be starting another Ultimate Lifestyle Transformation on July 20th. Contact me if you're like to join. Share this blog with anyone you think it may help.