After the loss of a loved one, we are thrown into the chaos of grief, flailing aimlessly in the tidal wave of grief and emotions that wash over us. Every day seems like a bad day.
Even many years later, we can have days when the strain of coping, the strain of everyday demands, and the strain of living become too great to bear for a while. We give up and collapse, letting ourselves be swallowed up and carried away by our emotional burdens.
When we are in that place it is difficult to find a way out, to see the light of day and to be able to breathe fresh air again. Here are some tips to help you navigate the black hole: 20 Ways You Can Get Through Your Bad Days.
feel it for a while
wallow by – if to wallow. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to be in the crosshairs of what we feel and what we are experiencing. We need to immerse ourselves in our great sorrow and pain that hurts like nothing on earth. We need to feel the depth of our anguish for ourselves, our deep pain for everything we are going through so that we can open our eyes to another day.
set a timer – yes you can wallow but not forever. It’s a dark, self-centered place that we don’t want to be in forever. Give yourself a time limit: minutes or hours, maybe all day. Set limits that support you.
Move on – Any kind of movement is good. If it comes after a good romp, it could be as simple as getting out of bed. It could be walking around the block or doing a good stretch. Activity is a plus for the whole body. Start where you are and go from there.
smartphone – Find an app that inspires you, something to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. It could be faith-based, inspirational quotes, or the sounds of nature.
iPads/Tablets – There is an incredible variety of things that you can get nowadays to distract and entertain you, to lift you a little bit of the sadness that can descend. I recently added the TED app to my iPad. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ideas worth spreading. In his iPad application there are hundreds of talks from his conferences that you can watch on a bad day or when sleep eludes you.
playlists – find your favorite music and put it in playlists according to your mood. Have one for gloomy days, some music to lift you up a bit. Have one to walk. Have one to sleep. You can even get special headphone sleep bands for added comfort.
soft tissues – Our poor noses take a beating when we are in mourning. We had never cried so much. So buy some extra soft bandanas to keep on hand. A little softness goes a long way when we’re feeling miserable.
cuddle – buy a beautiful soft and comfortable blanket to dive into. There is something about being warm and covered that makes us feel protected and cared for. It is a hug with us, for ourselves.
food– It’s not good to take a plunge in the closet when we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but we all do it and it can be a short-term emotional boost. Save it for the times when you need it most. We all have our favourites, for me it’s chocolate based: hot drinks, chocolates or pudding.
Heat – Have you noticed how you feel better when the sun shines and you feel warm and cozy? Wherever you can, get out in the sun or warm yourself by the fire and let the warmth thaw the ache in your heart a little.
Take a bath – sinking into the warmth of a scented bath or feeling the hot water from a shower fall on us can be very relaxing. Pair it with a beautiful soap or oil to leave you feeling nourished and special.
Laughter – something that can seem impossible when we are in the depths of despair. Laughing is healthy and it’s nothing to feel bad about. We all need a little relief, a breather and laughter can go a long way to release tension that we are holding tightly. Watch this yoga laugh video or keep a couple of DVDs or tapes handy that you know you’ll laugh at. It can do a lot to break through the shell of despair that sits in your heart.
feed your mind – have a couple of books, DVDs or tapes that inspire you in some way. You may have a few that you turn to over and over again. If not, start collecting a couple of things that you can use during these difficult days. To comfort you, inspire you and give you hope.
a good thing – it can be the hardest thing in the world to feel grateful for anything when we have lost someone we love so much. However, I believe that if we try and if we practice, we can find our one good thing that becomes another and another. It connects us to the polar opposite of our loss and directs us towards hope and healing.
your box of sweets – when you have a bad day, give yourself the opportunity to fight and know what makes you feel better. It can be a painting or a jewel. It could be a gift voucher that you bought a while ago for a day like today. It could be a beautiful fragrance or a bouquet of your favorite flowers. Keep them in your real or imaginary box and take advantage of them when you need it.
call a friend – measure how you feel. Sometimes we want to talk, sometimes we don’t. We may not have close friends or family to call, but we may be able to connect in other ways. Grievance is a very lonely and isolating experience. We all have moments when we need support and we need to know that we are not the only ones who feel this way.
get support – most complaint support groups have contact lists where you can seek help. If you are feeling suicidal in any way, get immediate help from your doctor, hospital, or emergency help line in your area. The internet never sleeps and can be a great support and reassurance for those anywhere in the world who need to connect with someone else who is grieving.
seek help – I often say that while there are many who can walk beside us, we are the only ones who can do the work, the hard yards of mourning and healing. We are the only ones who can do what it takes to live again. We are the only ones who can seek help to support us as we move forward with our complaint. We may have gone beyond being able to help ourselves, or what we’ve tried just isn’t working. It’s time to try something different. Never be afraid to seek help, it could be a turning point for you.
go to a different place
treat yourself – our homes can become our safety net, our sanctuary, especially when we are feeling very distressed. Leaving home and being in a different place moves your body but it can also change your mood. Make it pleasant, take yourself to a pleasant place. Break the mould.
sit with the birds – nature is incredibly restorative and healing. Sit outside for 10 minutes with a cup of tea or go for a walk in a nearby park. Listen to the sounds of nature; let it be a balm for your soul. Find a beautiful image of our wonderful world to grace your desk or sit on your table. Buy a water fountain and let yourself be surrounded by the sounds of nature in your day to day.
go to visit – Where have you always wanted to go? See it in your mind, imagine it. Bring it to life with images. Read about it, think about it, and plan for it. Having something to look forward to can help us deal with the difficulties we are going through right now. It may not be a long-cherished dream, it could be a one-night trip or two, a vacation, or something you’ve always wanted to do.
Try on a few of these for size; see if they are a good fit for you. If not, make up your own ways. You are helping yourself as only you can find what works for you and then do it.