[Featured image: Summer daisy in full bloom with black and white distressed border on photo. Words surrounding: "Whatever is unfolding, even if it is the most difficult stuff, find some spot of ease each day where you can rest your body, mind, and heart."]
When grief experiences come along and seem to break our hearts (hopefully break them open, not just break them), it can be exhausting in all ways: body, mind, and emotion. Even being able to read or concentrate can be trying, so this is a quicky 10 ideas for tending when things are most difficult:
- As soon as you notice the difficulty is pressing on you, stop. Breathe deeply, allowing the breath to go all the way down to your toes and hold it for just a second. Then release and let your physical body relax a little with the exhale. Do this a few times if need be.*
- Can you get to a spot with access to clean water? If so, take a few moments to go there, rinse your hands, face, neck. Let the coolness or warmth of the water bring you fully into the moment, the body.*
- Can you find a place to comfortably sit for a few minutes? Maybe sit nearer the edge of the surface and flex and stretch your feet, pointing toes out, pointing toes up. Allow the stretch in your feet and calves be a reminder to tend your being.*
- How much water have you had to drink today? Can you get access to clean water now to drink a cup or fill a water bottle to keep you hydrated for the next little while?*
- Is this current difficulty leaving you feeling isolated or lonely? Is there one friend or love you can text - you don't even have to use your voice if that's too hard - just text to say, "Hi there, can we text for a bit to check in?"*
- If you can't think of anyone you'd like to be in touch with, how about trying out the text crisis line (US service only at this time) to chat with one of their volunteers. You don't have to be having suicidal thoughts to text, but rather just if you are having a moment in which you need some support, they can help. Here are details on how it works.*
- Can you find a few minutes to have complete quiet and stillness? You can set timer if need be so it doesn't feel endless or something. But just for 3 minutes or 5 minutes, can you close a door, turn off phone, find as much quiet as possible, just for a few? Sometimes the space of quiet can reset our head!*
- Or on the other end of the spectrum, can you take a few moments to listen, uninterrupted, and really savor your favorite tune? Maybe in a room with door closed, alone space? Or if not, then with earbuds in so you are kind of "away" from all the external stuff. Sometimes love of music can reset our head!*
- Can you use and do you have access to a piece of paper and crayon or color pencils or markers? Can you spend a few minutes just scribbling out whatever is hurting most right now? No "artmaking" type space, just scribble scribble to get the energy out of your heart and head, through your arm and fingers, and smooshed out on the page? After all is smooshed out, maybe take a few minutes in empty spaces of the scribble to write a few words that are in your head around this energy?*
- Do you have a favorite soft blanket or shirt or scarf? Something where the texture makes you feel safe or warm or cool or tended in some way? Can you get that now and wrap it around or wear it for a bit now? Allow yourself to feel enveloped.
By no means is this a comprehensive list. But I hope it encourages you to notice when things are hurting or difficult, and then check in with yourself to see how you can tend, either individually or in connection with others. And if you have other ideas to add to this list, please know you are invited to share them in the comments here <3
From my radical grandma heart to your heart!