Grief Recovery

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As I move forward in my mental health counseling graduate school I realize that I have a passion for working with couples and grief counseling.  My ultimate goal is to combine my 15 years of working in holistic wellness with my counseling practice.  This will include yoga, mindfulness, meditations, visualizations, Ayurveda, and neuroscience and many other processes to help individuals have a full and healthy life in body, mind, and spirit.  As I move forward in my education, while working full time, I often feel extra stress and I usually manage it really well.  However, I have realized with my recent loss of a relationship combined with my daily stresses has resulted in sickness.  So, as I sit here in my bed on day two of no work I realize my mental process is now negatively affecting my physical and my immune system has finally relented.  Grief affects us all, whether it be loss through death or loss through divorce or a breakup, it will have an affect on a deeper level than we realize.  Not allowing yourself to grieve is a recipe for disaster.  If you push it away now it will find a way to resurface later.

Grief often works in cycles but it doesn’t mean that once you move through one cycle that it is done.  Often we can cycle back more than once through the sadness or anger if we do not properly process or we encounter a situation that brings up memories.  Even with all my knowledge of different methods I have still allowed my mind and body to absorb and hold on to some negativity.  Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed.  Body aches, exhaustion, tension throughout my body, nausea and just an overwhelming feeling of sadness and anger had taken over my body.  In the process of doing a body scan I realized my solar plexus area was, and still is, extremely sore.  This area of the body is connected to our self-esteem.  When it is blocked it will not only create all the symptoms I was physically having, it is also directly tied to self-esteem, and mine has recently taken a hard hit.  Self-love, self-acceptance and knowing your self-worth are all vital to the health and balance of your solar plexus chakra.  So how do I get myself out of this negative place, get myself back in balance, restore my mind, body, and spirit back to health?

The first big step is to move passed the feelings of loss and get myself on the path of acceptance in the grief process.  The relationship whys and what ifs no longer matter, let it go and stop talking about the other person and the relationship and change the focus to yourself and the future.  After a relationship ends we feel rejected or maybe guilty, depending on the circumstances, and this can lead to negative thoughts and feelings towards ourselves.  So the second big step for me in home care is to focus on building myself back up, understanding this was not about me not being enough or not being worthy, we were just not in alignment and no longer on the same path.  I can work towards building my self-esteem and self-worth with EFT and positive affirmations.  Caring for the nausea and body tension can include herbal tea, healthy food choices and a little yoga and meditation.  When a specific area of the body is ill and suffering I also find visualization is a great tool in the healing process.

I picture my stomach area red and irritated with a bunch of knots tied in a rope and the redness is pulsing.  Then I picture the redness fading to a lighter pink, then purple and a calming cool blue and all the knots in the rope slowly coming loose and floating freely.  This process helps relax my stomach and ease the nausea along with a nice ginger tea and maybe even a warm bath with some essential oils.  With tea and toast I can build my strength to do some light yoga and stretching.  All of this process combined with rest can help reclaim my positive energy and overall well-being.  It is also good to remember that what we are taking in through all of our senses can affect us, so watching sad or negative shows on television, talking with friends and family about the negative situation, or even listening to sad music can magnify the grief and cause you to cycle back through a process over and over again.  The goal is to plan for the future. What is your new game plan?  Your life is changing and what new goals are you setting for yourself?  The focus needs to change from then to now and looking forward.  Take time to write down things you would like to do differently or goals that you want to work towards.

This is also a good time to reflect on what you have learned that was good, but do not let yourself get caught up in the negative in an effort to find the positive.  Desires for what you want in a future relationship should be more clear as well as desires for yourself, like boundaries you may need to make more clear for yourself moving forward.  The grief process does not have to be all bad.  I have often said perspective is everything and the ability to take joy in knowing that you are moving forward in a positive way with new growth and a clearer vision of what you want in life is empowering.  Remove the memories, stop replaying conversations and move towards acceptance.  Accept the relationship as a learning process and now it is over and time to move on to a new lesson in life is the best.  Be gentle with yourself and understand you must love yourself first and foremost.

With love, health, and happiness,

Stacy

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