|Posted on 27 April, 2020 at 20:00|
Dealing with Grief from a "Physical Distance"
There may be times in life that we cannot be physically present to show our love and support to friends and family whether it is for a happy celebration or in times of sorrow. In most cases, we commonly experience reasons such as vacation, illness, living afar, work obligations, etc. Today, we are faced with the unique challenges associated with a pandemic that will keep us from physical connection when we want to be present the most. Our desire to extend support from afar has also been challenged, as we are limited in our ability or in the availability of items such as: flowers, cards, food or baked goods, etc.
Grief is a human emotion that is unique to everyone, like a fingerprint. The process and timing to this emotion is just as unique, so when we are pressured to react in a way that is not how our body, mind and soul needs to experience it, this can cause challenges with relationships, ideas of self-worth, personal responsibility and our overall understanding of the meaning of life! Grief is something that most of us will experience whether it is from a death, divorce, job loss and now even the inability to visit friends or family due to physical distancing! Yes, we are grieving a life we once knew, maybe even took for granted, and on top of that some of us may be faced with grieving for a loved one that has died.
Tips to Help us Grieve from a Physical Distance:
· Acknowledge all the layers of your grief
o We may be grieving the life we once knew, grieving the inability to physically connect as a group, grieving the loss of a job perhaps causing financial challenges, grieving the ability to witness the birth of a baby, grieving the inability to be present for an ill loved one, grieving the death of a loved one and grieving the tradition of celebrating someone’s life the way we've historically honoured them before. There are layers, acknowledge each of your unique layers of grief.
· Allow yourself to feel emotion
o Often, we bury our emotions deep down so that we do not have to feel the discomfort of the emotion, or to be brave for others. It is okay to experience emotions, often they are up and down and all over! Allow your feelings to be felt, do not resist them, or they may become trigger points down the road. Feeling your raw emotions at the time you have them makes them relatable and healing is able to begin, putting emotions off may later cause confusion and further misunderstandings of self and others, delaying healing or creating new wounds.
· Engage in activities that make you smile
o Joy is often an emotion that we hide or suppress in times of grief, along the way we have been taught that we need to be sad when someone dies and smiling or laughing is a sign that we ‘don’t care’ or are being disrespectful. Joy is an emotion that humans ultimately want to find in their lifetime, our loved ones want us to remember them in a way that will make you smile. A smile is the soul’s emotion that shows someone made an impact on our lives. Yes, we will be sad for the life we no longer get to be involved with daily, but we also need to feel free to show joy for the memories that impacted our life, otherwise we are not acknowledging all the good they offered us while living.
o Take notice of your living space, if it is full of clutter, your ability to cope with grief will be more challenging, it may affect your ability to focus within or on responsibilities, affect your ability to get meaningful sleep and ultimately creates a chaotic energy that may increase levels of anxiety. Take some time to remove clutter and open up your living space for healing energy to flow.
· Make self-care a priority
o Self-care is a survival necessity! Self-care promotes feelings of balance and joy, acceptance of our self-worth, confidence and helps us stay motivated and healthy. Practicing self-care allows us time alone to relax and focus on our own well-being. Start your day off with a shower, get dressed as you would if you were going out of the house, get lots of sleep, drink water and eat high vibration foods such as fruits and veggies or take time to learn a new hobby. Give yourself the time you need, only you will know how much time you need and when you need it.
· Be mindful
o Mindfulness is the ability to be present in the moment. Being mindful decreases feelings of anxiety, increases our ability to feel happy and promotes wellness. Allow yourself time to complete one task a time, avoid multi-tasking. While you are doing any activity, be fully present in the moment while using your senses to keep you grounded and appreciate the environment surrounding you.
· Walk or get active
o One of the reasons we want to be physically present is because of our innate desire to hug or offer physical touch. Our ability to be present helps us intuitively determine the level of support we need to offer and if our loved one is ‘OK’. When we hug, our brain releases chemicals that make us ‘feel good’ therefore, improving our mood, lessening feelings of depression, or offering a feeling of relaxation or reassurance. During a pandemic, physical distancing restricts us from showing our support this way, and we need to find ways to ‘feel good’ in the absence of physical touch some options are: walking, yoga, exercise or other activities that offer ‘feel good’ chemicals to release into our body.
· Limit time around negativity
o During grieving, our energy is running low and our ability to filter or repel low vibration energy that may affect us negatively, is weakened. Limit time watching or listening to the news or participating in activities that do not bring your peace. Spending your time becoming more saddened will only overwhelm you and add to the layers of grief.
· Connect to family and friends in other ways
o Thankfully, technology has given us opportunities to connect via video, phone, email, text, etc. The ability to connect this way helps us feel connected and offers a solution during times of physical distancing.
· Create your own tribute
o Plan your own personal tribute to honour the life of your loved one. Celebrations of life do not have to be within large groups, or even immediately following death, in order to be an effective way to show respect. Often, people choose or request to be honoured in an intimate way, this is just as respectful and meaningful. Trust timing is essential, your efforts will be acknowledged by the departed no matter when and how you honour them.
· Seek out a professional
o If you feel that you are struggling with grief, reach out to a professional, many therapists now offer their services online or over the phone. Having someone to talk to may offer insight and alternative ways of coping with loss.
Collectively, the world is experiencing grief. Just as the Earth and each human goes through this time of healing, we are reminded that grief is a personal evolution, we must go within to find true healing, peace and direction. When we allow ourselves the time to go within to navigate our grief, healing occurs, when we heal ourselves, the world heals too. Do not let your grief get lost in the events unfolding in the world around you, understand your loss is an enormous life changing event and deserves the time and energy you require. When devastating events happen that affect the world, or large populations of the world, the ability to heal and grieve as a community offers profound healing energy, that facilitates a global support system, ultimately, affecting us individually. We come together in ways we never imagined, to support complete strangers, because we are now bonded together by these events. Humans instinctively support each other in challenging times due to empathy and the ability to feel sorrow, pain and suffering, this calls us to action. We are "all" in this together, even if from a physical distance.