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Grieving your Normal

So, it took me by surprise. The feelings of anger, anxiety, disbelief, fear, helplessness, powerlessness and uncertainty when I was told that three of my four jobs were laying me off due to the Covid-19 Virus. I seriously didn’t know what to do and I hadn’t felt like this in a very long time, mostly because it came as such a shock to my system.

What I didn’t realize right away, was that I was going through the grieving process. I saw a great post on my friends' Facebook wall. Erin Merelli is a Death Doula, and quite talented in helping those through the death process as well as their family members. This is what she posted:

“Now is a good time to remember that grief doesn’t just belong to death. We can grieve for our health. We can grieve for cancelled travel and adventures. We can grieve for lost work and job security. We can grieve for the effort we’ve put into projects that will not come to fruition. We can grieve for all things we were looking forward to which are now on hold. So, let’s remember to be kind to each other. Let’s be there for each other through our individual losses and in our joint grief.”

This really helped put everything into perspective. Once I could pinpoint my emotions, I was much better in dealing with the situation and I became stronger and more resilient in finding a new way to make money. I did take time to honor my mind, body and soul and for about four days I did the following without feeling guilt or shame:

  • Woke without an alarm, allowing me to get 9-10 hours of sleep every night.

  • Took my time doing my morning meditation and sat a little longer to take in the quiet house.

  • Made myself an amazing breakfast filled with nutrient dense foods.

  • Wrote some positive stress management blog posts.

  • Made a delicious lunch and ate it in my backyard soaking in the sun.

  • Took a walk around the block.

  • Took an afternoon nap if I needed it.

  • Savored a cup of tea.

  • Binge watched some movies and a couple of series.

  • Talked with friends and family and enjoyed a laugh.

  • Created an amazing dinner for myself and my son.

  • Cuddled with kitties and appreciated their purrs.

Simply knowing the feelings of grief are normal and can help you move through the mourning a lot easier. By taking some time to do the above, I was able to stand tall, take my talents and create online fitness videos for my student following as well as invite new people to join me. It has been so enlightening to see the joy on everyone’s faces when we start classes and get our hearts, minds and bodies moving.

Here are some common mental reactions to grief, in case you are not sure if that is what you are feeling or working through at the moment:

• Problems concentrating • Issues making decisions • Self-destructive thoughts • Low self-esteem • Continuously thinking about the change in life • Difficulty getting good quality sleep, nightmares or dreams • Believing you could have done something to prevent the change

Here are some common physical reactions to grief:

• Tired constantly • Feeling weak • Deep sighs • Muscle tension all over the body • Headaches or new stomach issues • Pounding or racing heart • Lower immunity • Easily shaken by news reports

Here are some common Spiritual reactions to grief you, or a loved one, may be going through:

• Feeling abandoned or punished by your God • Questioning a reason to go on living • Feeling angry with your spirituality • Feeling lost or empty • Needing to receive forgiveness • Questioning your spirituality • Feeling like you are the only one and you are alone • Finding hope in prayer, meditation or other spiritual beliefs • Finding purpose and passion in life

So, what can you do to move through this process with ease and grace? Here is a list of things you can do every day to help you grieve as well as find the positive in the situation and go with the flow:

• Stay active with what work you can do, or journal about your current experience • Cry and don’t judge yourself for crying • Spend quality time alone- meditate, listen to music, read a book, color or paint • Stay connected with friends and family via phone, Facebook Live, Zoom or Facetime • Take a creative class in drawing, painting or writing online. Learn something new and exciting to stimulate your brain and soul. • Write actual letters to those you love and mail them • Call friends that you haven’t talked to in a long time and re-connect with a virtual coffee break • Find unique and fun recipes and create one or two new dishes each week

Loss is one of the most difficult human experiences. There is no easy way around it. Loss of a loved one, or loss of a job will still give you a heightened stress response. You will need to find your courage, resilience and perseverance to move past the grief and take that next step in change. Especially if your grief is in regard to losing a job, not being able to take that vacation (I postponed our trip to Ireland for a year and it saddened me) or not being able to get out of the house and spend some quality “me-time” you will need to take time to grieve this and come up with your “new normal.”

Grief is hard work and can take a toll on us physically, mentally and emotionally. This is why it is perfectly normal to what to sleep a lot. Do not judge yourself or shame yourself for doing so. Honor what your body needs and see how much easier it is to move through this part of your life and create a new, happier, joy filled “normal.”


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