So far most of my posts have encouraged delving deep into the pain and loss. I’ve outlined feelings the feels, avoiding the avoiding, and embracing the ugly cry. Doing those things often feel brutal and daunting, leaving you exhausted and spent.
Grieving is hard and lonely work. It’s the type of work that goes unseen and often unacknowledged, which can make it feel even more draining. I spent years in almost constant fatigue. I sometimes worried I would never have extra reserves of energy ever again. I questioned if I battled chronic depression. Now I look back and know the answers. I was holding down another fulltime job in addition to my career, grieving deliberately and consciously. Who wouldn’t be exhausted and drained doing some of the most demanding work you can do?
For this reason, my last and most important tip for being in The Haze is…Be Gentle with yourself. Sure, this can mean bubble baths and a massage. It also means taking yourself into nature to feel replenished by a fresh breeze and feet in the dirt or water. Or losing yourself in a good book or movie. It also means saying no to invitations you don’t want to accept. There are days you just aren’t going to have the capacity to be sociable or maybe even polite, and that’s okay. Say no, it’s your prerogative. You don’t need to explain, just decline with a simple, “No thank you, I won’t be making it.”
You can only keep showing up for the work if you also give yourself a break. Stop beating yourself up for not being where you thought you’d be by now, for not being the person you once were. You are doing the best you can, you are alive and feeling. For today that’s the win, celebrate it.
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This is the eigth installment in a series of articles based on, “Good Grief – Embracing Life and Giving Good Support” a talk I gave on May 22, 2019. You can get caught up by starting with the introductory article here.