Emily Thiroux Threatt (author of Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief) urges you to map out your happiness and remember to smile always.
Often while grieving we are hard on ourselves, expecting us to have superpowers to break through grief, then being disappointed when that happens. We also have periods of sadness we feel like it will never be over. And we may not be taking good care of us physically by doing things like staying in pajamas, not doing laundry, not bathing as often as we used to, letting our hair get dirty, not going to the gym, or not going for a walk. Not eating mindfully. Does any of this familiar to you? All of these are things you may experience during grief. The key with this is to recognize what you are doing and make an effort to do something different.
Having the strength to do anything may seem daunting. Try picking just one thing and work your way through it until you can release it. For instance, if in sadness you are just sitting, try standing up and stretching then find something to do, like call a friend, get a nice cool glass of water, and drink it, read a funny book, or watch a funny movie. If you are still in your pajamas, get dressed even if you aren’t planning on going someplace. If you are dressed, you are more likely to leave the house or even answer the door.
Take a nice long bath or shower. I always feel so much better after I bathe. This seems to bring a delightfully energy to me. In my early days of grief, sometimes getting in the shower was just too hard to do. If you find yourself feeling this way, ask yourself some questions like will bathing help you feel better? Will you smell better? Will you be able to sleep better? Will you be more likely to visit with someone? If you answer yes to any of these questions, go bathe now!
Are you moving enough? I started walking just around my block. Then my walks got longer, and eventually I got back into the pool, and I went to the gym. What kind of movement would you like to do? How about gentle yoga, or just doing nice stretches a home. YouTube has a wealth of yoga demonstrations, as well as videos on Tai Chi and Qi Gong. I love to do Qi Gong and meditate afterward. This allows me to release anything that is bothering me, and it makes me feel so good!
Are you eating too much or eating things that are healthy? Or maybe you are forgetting to eat, or you just don’t get around to eating. I lost a lot of weight each time my husbands died. Eating just wasn’t a priority. This led to a great weakness, so I started being mindful for eating. I committed to eating healthy, non-processed foods three times a day with one healthy snack. I started finding or creating new recipes which were easy just for me. If you are eating too much, try developing a relationship with your shopping cart. Make it a no candy, no cookies, no soda, and no chips zone. Treat your shopping cart well and it will serve you!
When you start to get down, recognize what is happening, and put your hands over your heart, take a deep breath and say, “I am happy.” Next breathe say “I am beautiful.” Next breath say, “I take good care of myself.” Then talk one more breath and say, “I love me.”
Doing what I recommend here is your map to happiness, and remember to smile always. Smiling along will make you feel so much better!
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A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying on in the Face of Loss
Rediscover sustained moments of joy as you seek a new way of being in the world. Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief guides and lightens the journey to positivity for those who feel the pain of loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a job, a marriage, a house, a pregnancy, a nest egg―anyone or anything that we loved and that is no longer in our lives. In this book, author and fellow griever Emily Thiroux Threatt provides you with strategies to embrace the process of learning how to start living again.