Allowing Yourself To Grieve


cristian-newman-Zi8-E3qJ_RM-unsplashSix months ago I had three or four things come into our life that were difficult. We lost someone unexpectedly, someone we know was diagnosed with a difficult illness, my kid moved into his junior year of high school which made me start thinking about empty nesting and time passing, I was noticing how it takes long for my body to recover after a hard workout, and a lot of my work has been changing…. It was all just a big jumble of bad feelings! So, when I was at Canyon Ranch teaching and “Improvisation For Life” workshop, I decided to get a coaching session myself. I talked to my coach about everything that had been throwing me off balance. Of course I didn’t present it clearly because I didn’t know what was wrong exactly, I just laid out all the things going on and she was like, “Dude, this is all grief.” What all these things had in common was grief. Duh.

So what was the cure for my malaise?

“Grieve!” She said. “Just let yourself grieve without trying to fix or solve anything.”

Uh-oh… “but I’m a professional fixer!” Ha! Of course I’m not actually a professional fixer, I’m a life coach. I don’t actually “fix” anything. My whole job is to help people see where they are, and reflect back things they may not be noticing– just like this coach did for me!

As you can imagine, the subject of “allowing myself to grieve” has come up a lot since this pandemic began. Even though I’m having a really centered and creative time during our stay-at-home orders, there is absolutely a lot of grieving going on, from our own, smaller losses (like not being able to get my hair cut!), to the epic, heartbreaking loss of life affecting the whole world.

Well, as you know I’m not a therapist… but what I do know is that a key to dealing with grief lies in the Buddhist teachings I’ve studied, the life-coaching coaching processes I teach, and in improvisation as an art form. The 3 components I want to talk about here, are:

  1. Letting go of the past and what we know.

  2. Being more comfortable with the unknown in the future that we haven’t arrived at yet.

  3. Being creative and thinking outside of the box to solve problems and change our thinking in the present.

[To listen To the full version of this on my Podcast, click here!]

(I could extrapolate on these three components forever, and if you’re interested in learning more, please check out my “WTF” Membership Program. It’s a monthly, super affordable, women’s life-coaching membership program that I started this past April as a way to help people pivot to life during a pandemic. We would love to have you join us, and you can learn more about the program by clicking here.)

So this allowing yourself to grieve stuff? Here we go:

Don’t stay isolated. Keep in touch with your friends and family. Keep regular schedules where you regularly connect with other people, whether it’s a group work-out class, a group meditation or weekly cocktail hours. Don’t go this alone.

And of course, look around to see who you can help. It always helps me when I’m feeling extreme grief, to look outside of myself and help other people. Find ways to “be of service.” Being in service can be altruistic but it can also be the most supportive thing you can do for yourself, and that’s okay. It can make you feel like you have meaning and purpose, and that’s one of the things we talk about the most in all the coaching I do. So, stay strong, connect to your meaning and purpose, and allow yourself to grieve.

It’s simple but it works. And I mean right now, simple is good, amirite?? You should see the terrible quiche I tried to make the other day. “Complicated” is NOT a good pandemic plan. I’m thinking microwave meals level, guys. That’s our sweet spot.

Hang in there everybody.

HOW TO SUPPORT CARETAKERS AND OURSELVES THROUGH TIMES OF TRAUMA: MY INTERVIEW WITH A TRAUMA EXPERT


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I wanted to share this interview with you all, in this challenging time. It’s an interview I conducted this past week with my dear friend Laura van Dernoot Lipsky of TraumaStewardship.com. She’a an expert in caring for people who care for people in trauma—like nurses and first-responders.

I’d wanted to talk to her because I’ve been feeling so much concern for my friends and family in health care, and like all of us I’ve been disturbed by what we’ve been reading about the workers in health care in Italy, Seattle, NYC and beyond. I wanted her advice on how to support them.

In talking to her, though, I came to realize that her methods for supporting caretakers is also excellent advice for how we all can support OURSELVES through this.

I hope you find this as helpful as I did. And of course please share it with anyone whom you think might benefit from it!

Stay safe, and look out for one another,

Katie

And click here to check out this awesome survival guide you can reference throughout the day!\