Grief and loss can send you in a downward spiral. The initial loss is a huge blow in and of itself. If you have lost a spouse you may be faced with making decisions alone, juggling finances or having other relationships shift. There is a huge black hole as you have to fill in the gaps that they left or find someone to help you. If you have lost a parent, a child, a best friend, a spouse through divorce, grief may feel even more weighty and especially if it was sudden or out of order in our minds for how life should flow. Deep down we resonate with the hope that all things should be made right, could be made right and why aren't they being made “right”. We have to re-calibrate hope when we discover our desires were poor substitutes for a foundation in hope that can't be shaken. Loss breaks down our expectations and it challenges our faith.
My focus mainly on this site is aimed at widowhood yet I have known and I do know so many others with overlapping struggles born from other types of just as real heart breaking loss. They are all different and yet at the core have similar threads. I believe it is the enemy who wants to isolate us into thinking “no one can understand”. The surface stories may differ but at the core we can resonate, feel and speak the same language of rejection, betrayal, anger, shame and loneliness. When we can feel validated for what is at the core, we can allow healing to take place.
Loss encapsulates all that was yet it also projects into the future hopes and dreams you may have had for your life with or for that other person. Just redefining who you are in the light of the loss is a big part of adjusting. I was a life long committed wife and mother... what am I now? Often we are forced to dig deeper than “what we do” or the roles we have filled to find who we intrinsically are in the sudden absence or attack on those roles. This takes time to unpack.
Anger, shame, hopelessness, disappointment, concern for the future are all big emotions. Feeling strong emotions is a normal part of the grief process. Often they can contribute to a flight or fight response in the body and tax your adrenal and thyroid function. It is important to take extra care during grief in order to move through grief well. This is hard stuff and now is not the time to let loose of all constraints. I want to encourage you to lace your days with grace, not perfection, yet stay the course on a few simple things that will go a long way in helping you navigate the bigger picture you can not see beyond at the moment.
*Eat well~ Initial grief affects people differently. I have experienced great loss twice and both times I could stomach very little. Others binge eat. I encourage you to move through without pressuring yourself but make every bite count. Your body needs extra solid nutrition to counter the intense emotions and stress. Eating poorly can compound the emotional difficulty by taxing your adrenals, thyroid and gut function even more than they already are.
Think: healthy fats, quality water and real food.
Try these stress friendly foods: avocados, fermented foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, fresh lemon water in the morning, seaweed snacks
Limit foods that will tax your adrenal function: caffeine and alcohol
If you must drink a cup of coffee, make it a wise cup of coffee. Choose a mold free, chemical free source (as these tax your system even more) and add adaptogenic herbs. Consider a water processed healthy decaf. Sneak in your favorite healthy brain supportive fats and enndocannabinoid support. (Butter, coconut oil, macha powder, chaga, CBD are all good choices. See our blog and IG for recipe combinations and ideas!)
*Sleep well~ Initial grief left me sleeping poorly due to unbidden instant replays in my mind or “what if” thoughts. Time will ease some of this yet you also need support and space to move through it and not bury it. Slow down during the day and be gracious with yourself when you are extra tired. Grief is like open heart surgery and no one expects a recovering heart patient to be a super human. Choose your friends wisely. One or two people that you can speak your heart to, who can really hear you, goes a long way.
Think: gentle bedtime routine, moderate daily exercise, time outdoors in the sun and walking barefoot
Try these sleep supportive aids: warm baths 30 minutes before bed preferably with epsom salts or a stress supportive bath bomb with magnesium, Insomnia Support Essential Oil blend, limit use of electronics at least 1 hour before bed, play soothing instrumental music, herbs in a tea or tincture form such as Valerian & Mimosa. Journal as needed to unload feelings and thoughts. For solid support in the immediate wake of grief, try Melatonin CBD Softgels.
*Utilize distractions wisely~ Dr Caroline Leaf says that it is ok to give your brain a rest from thinking and rethinking through trauma and loss constantly. But don't let distractions become a way to avoid healing from the pain of the loss. It took me time and a certain level of healing before unbidden replays ceased to come at me constantly and I was able to “open and close” the thought boxes more intentionally. At first I just moved through the replays and allowed the pain to be felt. I was surrounded by people who loved me and were holding space for me. Surround yourself with appropriate, meaningful relationships, helpful support groups and try journaling and prayer. If your loss includes betrayal, rejection or a traumatic death you especially should focus on and find paths of forgiveness. If you have children, find alone time in order to help yourself to be grounded enough to process with them when you are together. Knowing that you will have periodic breaks will make it easier to fully listen to them and have time to digest their big emotions for yourself at another time.
Think: staying present and self aware but allowing yourself healthy mental breaks
Try these mental break ideas: a walk, hiking, gardening, reading a good book or watching an encouraging movie. Use essential oils to support big emotions, moving through them and releasing them. Try Forgiveness, Acceptance or Godfidence.
*Supplement if needed~ Stress taxes your body of basic minerals and vitamins. If you were deficient prior to this huge life event, you may need to supplement beyond a real food diet. Getting a health assessment to determine huge deficiencies may be necessary. Consider your need for common deficiencies that include
vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, selenium and magnesium. Good fats and vitamin A can be very critical at this time as well. I prefer supplements that have been sourced from real food. A quality CBD oil helps the entire body re-calibrate and I feel helps make my supplementation more effective.
*Ask for help~ A couple intimate friends can help you process so much emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There are also friends and resources for practical needs! Don't be afraid to ask for help for things you are not accustomed to doing even if you know how to do them! When my first oil change came due for the van I knew that I knew how to do it. But in the middle of this simple process I broke down in tears over a simple obstacle. There was more at stake than an oil change and there were 7 sets of eyes depending on me to complete this chore. I called a friend. Know what you can do, what you can't do and what you may be able to do yet give yourself the grace to know you can't do it all and it is ok to tag someone in. Sometimes it may feel like even your most dependable people are not available. Breathe. If you are a believer, you are not alone and He promises to supply your every need. Sometimes it is not in your time frame. Sometimes I have to pause and pray first, reach out second.
This is for your information only and not to take the place of a qualified physician or natural doctor.
*Oil blends by email or : Emotional Support Roll On | Widows Offering (thewidowsofferingcoffeeco.com)
*CBD and nutrition supplement recommendations by email
***Freedom In Christ is a free program available by zoom. This program walks you through freedom from guilt, shame, hopelessness and gives you tools to understand forgiveness, hope and your true identity.