What season are we even in? Emotionally, it is hard to keep track of everything we are feeling. The days seem darker and the time seems longer, we are still.
This, is a season of grief.
I don’t know about you, but I am feeling an extra wave of heaviness as of late, as we enter this holiday season in particular. This heaviness is showing up in a form of anxiety, restlessness, ruminating thoughts, suppressed appetite, and lack of social interactions. The pandemic has added to the heaviness in my life as I am sure in all of yours, personally and professionally. I find myself reflecting on those that I cannot be close with and also those I have lost in my life. Truthfully, any loss we have had in our life can cause grief. And whether you realize it or not, you might be grieving. There is no right way to grieve any loss you have had or are currently going through. This is an individualized experience. The way you grieve is also based on your personality style, coping style, life experiences, faith/spirituality, and even the significance of the loss you experience.
I want you to take a minute to reflect on the space you are in. What season are you in?
What are you experiencing: mentally, emotionally, and physically? As a society, we have truly endured so much—the current political climate, election depression, racial injustice, inequality, the effects of a pandemic, losing loved ones. How could we not be impacted? How could we not be grieving and hurting?
If you’re experiencing loss, it’s important to listen to yourself and what your body is telling you. I want you to understand that your process of grief is so unique to you. Remain grounded in that. This time is a bit more challenging as we are all trying to navigate spending time with loved ones for the holidays, but we may not have the emotional or mental space for it. And that’s okay. There are ways to take care of yourself through this season of grief, whether you choose to spend time with others or be alone:
§ Listen to what your mind, body, and heart needs
Distance from others
Especially during the holiday season, if you do not feel ready to be with others, be open and honest with yourself and politely decline
Gain more solitude
Practice social distance and virtual distance
§ Disconnect with others and reconnect with yourself
§ Support yourself emotionally, but take care of yourself physically
Eating or physical exercise may seem like a big challenge, but taking yourself out to get fresh air can rejuvenate and stimulate your senses
§ Withdraw when you need; set your boundary
Sometimes you might not want to talk about the loss
§ If someone begins talking to you about your loss, without your permission, let them know you aren’t ready.
§ Honor yourself
Talking about it is a way to heal and honor the person or the loss
Sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry
You don’t always have to talk about it while around others
Try not to isolate yourself for too long
During this time of isolation, find connections and think about what brings you meaning. A book, journaling, writing to them, talking to someone about other things
§ Turn to friends and family (it’s understandable to turn away)
Lean on those who do care about you
Talk with those who also are sharing in your loss
Confide in those who you know have experienced loss
Even if you take pride in being strong, resilient, and self-sufficient, remain open
Some may not know how to support or bring up the topic, so tell them what you need. I know it might be hard. You may not even know what you need.
If you find comfort in faith or spirituality practices- like meditating or praying, this can be helpful and can offer solace
Join a support group
§ Grief is a very lonely process
§ Contact local hospitals, counseling centers, online groups
§ Talking about our grief can be a challenge at first, but sometimes speaking to someone who creates a safe place for you can be all you need to release what you’re carrying.
If Someone You Know is Experiencing Loss
- Things to say:
“ I share your pain and your loss.”
“ I can’t imagine what this process is for you, I’m here to support you in any way I can.”
“You are going through a lot right now, how can I carry this weight with you.”
“ I am thinking of you and want you to know you’re important to me.”
“ I am sending you love and light during this time. I’m here when you’re ready.”
“Have a day, I love you.”
“You’re heavy in my heart and on my mind. I want you to know I’m thinking about you. You don’t have to respond to me, I just want you to know I’m thinking of you.”
- If you don’t know how to approach the topic, be open and honest about it, but say you are ready when they are.
- Show up for them in the friendship or relationship
Whether it’s a text, email, card, Venmo, or dropping something at their door if you live close enough
- Sometimes even showing up unannounced provides relief
- Send them things so they know they are cared for
- Be understanding of their distance and lack of communication
- Be patient with their process
- Check in throughout the day or even weeks. Touching base with them will show that they are cared for
- Call or text to talk about unrelated things to help them get their mind off things
- Be a part of their healing process:
- The person experiencing loss may not know what they need, so if you know their favorite meals, groceries, or cuisines, show up for them and bring them something that can provide nourishment
I know that these seasons come and stay longer than others, but I want you to know that your feelings are valid and real. This is YOUR SEASON. This is YOUR GRIEF. It is true to you. Take this time for you to process everything, be present with yourself, and be honest with yourself. I speak from a heart that has been broken, and a heart that is healing. This is a process that only you know and as you give yourself permission to feel, you’re also building resiliency. I share your pain and loss and I am with you through it all. Please remember that you’re only one person and you can only do so much. Through the silence, there is noise. In the darkness, there is stillness. And in the sadness, there is fear. However you process, remember to take it minute by minute. I’m with you. If you would like any other additional resources please contact me. If you want to hear more, tune into the Instagram live: Building Resiliency Through Grief on @lulyapp.
Whatever you do, remember to always follow your meltuition.
Follow Dr. Melanie S. Hussain on Instagram @meltuition