Our lives are full. We have families and careers, school and social lives, and none of us have time to grieve. Because grieving takes time. Grieving sometimes demands days of nothingness, nights of insomnia, weeks of binge eating or not eating at all. Grieving sometimes demands loneliness, sadness, crying, and screaming out to the heavens. Grieving sometimes demands all of us and we just can't afford to give it what it wants. So, we push our grief to the side, we get back to work and back to the everyday responsibilities of our home and social lives. We get back to life, trying our damnedest to not think about all we have lost. We do this for a while and it seems we are doing it with success –– until.
I have a confession. I am drowning in a sea of grief. For quite some time, I have been pushing my grief to the side and shoving it down deep, all the while knowing it would eventually come to a head and erupt. This emotional volcano has been laying dormant for years as I just keep going. I have goals that need to be met, a family that depends on me, and a life that needs to be lived. I haven't wanted to live in the past, so I have become obsessed with moving forward, and quickly.
After all, life doesn't wait for a broken heart.
I have lost so much in my life that, sometimes, I'm not quite sure what is left, or who. Who am I without all the things, people, experiences, and feelings that once made me, me? Who am I if I am not an author, a wife, a best friend, and a mother to a child who needs me every few minutes?
Grief enters our lives at countless times, and even during happy moments. It is possible for us to lose something while gaining something greater and still grieve that which is lost. This happens to me, often. I also grieve for things and people I have lost that I know I will never get back, no matter how much I miss and want them. I grieve even when I know the loss is right and justified.
But, for the longest time, I have been swallowing my grief and ignoring the pangs as it grows roots in the pit of my stomach, sprouts, and branches. My grief has grown. It has developed from a seedling to a mighty oak and I make to hang myself from it, emotionally.
This grief is real and it is very, very powerful.
The only way out of this grief will be intensive self care. There are steps I will need to take and tools I need to use, steps and tools I have learned through my fifteen years as a life coaching client. I don't know how long it will take for me to feel unadulterated happiness again, and it doesn't matter. It takes as long as it takes. And that's the thing –– grieving does take time, and we all need to take the time to do it. However, we don't get to dictate how much time it takes. We don't get to schedule it, in its totality, deciding when we start and when we stop. We just have to do it. We just have to go through it.
None of us can afford to stop living our lives and ignore our responsibilities while we grieve. We can take mental health days and medical leave from our jobs, but that time will eventually run out, and it may just run out way before our grief has gone. Also, our grief may never be gone. There are certain things in life we will never get over, losses that will always hurt, but we have to settle into the acceptance of this grief and function within it. This will take constant self awareness and self care, and this is what I'll be working on.
For the last year, I have not been as devoted to my self care as I had been in the past. Starting this week, I am committed to being more focused on that care, skipping no steps along the way. I will need to be very disciplined in my commitment and exercise a vast amount of self control until my previous self care routine becomes second nature, again.
That routine includes:
- (6:00am) Wake
- (6:30am) Green Smoothie
- (7:00am) Morning Work
- (10:00am) 45-Minute Workout
- (11:00am) Shower
- (11:30am) Lunch
- (12:00pm) Afternoon Work
- (5:00pm) End of Workday
- (6:00pm) Dinner
- (7:30pm) Evening Walk
- (8:00pm) Wind Down
- (10:00pm) Sleep
During this time, I will incorporate the tools that have always helped me:
- Avoiding bad news and gossip
- Avoiding people with bad or stagnant energy
- Watching and listening to uplifting, inspiring, and educational television and internet content only
- Listening to meditation recordings at bedtime
- Writing in my gratitude journal before bedtime
- Having hot, sleep-inducing tea at bedtime
- Reading one chapter of a self improvement book at bedtime
- Keeping my ringer off before and after woking hours, and all weekend
- Talking less and listening more, not just to people, but to God
In acknowledging my grief, privately and now publicly, I am better able to face it. Incorporating strict self care rituals to my busy days will help me stay on top of my personal and professional responsibilities while healing myself. I will spend most of this time alone, at least initially, as I sort through old feelings. I will have to acknowledge the feelings individually and begin to forgive myself and others for the roles we played in past hurtful experiences. There will be crying, there will be sadness, but all of it will be signs of pain leaving the body. I am making myself my foremost concern and that will mean having to say no to a lot of people.
I am okay with that.
In denying my pain, I have only hurt myself more. In denying your pain, you are only hurting yourself more. If you are grieving and pushing it down for the sake of moving on, I ask that you join me in becoming even more committed to your emotional self care and recovery. Be honest about your pain, if to no one but yourself, and take these daily steps with me. In doing so, browse through this blog and sign up for the courses in The G3 School. Incorporate as many of my daily tools and practices as you see fit and add your own. Do only that which will heal your soul and protect yourself from further damage. As always, The Gorgeous Girl's Guide and I will be here to help you.
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.