Regardless of how you journal, whether it is a diary, notebook or poetry, you will find benefits. It clarifies, prioritizes and sometimes presents grand ideas out of the blue!
—Tips for Finding Time to Journal--
It can be very difficult to make time for journaling every morning.
• Try getting up just a half hour or 20 minutes earlier. This gives you 20-30 minutes of quiet time before the house fully comes alive.
• You might find a few minutes after everyone else is out of the house as well.
• You may find 15 minutes in a coffee shop or juice stop on your way to work gives you the time you need to write, and, will add to the pleasure.
• 15 minutes before you start your work routine may be the time for you. You may think it will cause you to stay later at work to get everything accomplished. Writing is like your morning workout, it is amazing how spending the time can buy you more time through the day. Your head is clearer and you can do your job and handle people more efficiently and effectively.
Journaling in the morning allows you to clear the cobwebs in your brain. You’ll notice affects almost immediately, it helps to focus you. You will find that you do things that you would have skipped over otherwise. Try to journal every day. If you don’t then sometimes will work too.
It is established that it takes 6 months to form a habit.
Commit to journaling for 6 months! Then, tell me what has happened!
Please comment below and share how you journal now!
While many people took the time over the last few days to write down their resolutions, I glided into 2014 without any list. As a matter of fact, I haven't done resolutions since I was in college or maybe even before that. I just don't really believe in them.
What I do believe in is striving for your best and being open to set backs, or gasp, even failure! I like to think of what I do as intentions rather than resolutions. If you write down 10 things that you are going to do, or stop doing, in 2014...you run the chance of missing the boat on all of them. That is why intentions are so much better for me in my life. And here is why:
Mirriam Webster defines resolution as "the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. The act of resolving something." Hmm...that doesn't really sound right for me.
But if you look up intention, you will find this: "The thing that you plan to do or achieve. An aim or purpose." Okay, this is exactly what I am talking about!
What is it that you plan to do or achieve this year? That is where the real juicy stuff comes up. Where do you want to be this time next year? And how do you see yourself getting there? These are questions I ask myself and check in with throughout the year. Am I getting closer to my intention? What is holding me back? Am I in sync with my values and morals? If not, then I need to look at things again to find a new way to reach my set intentions.
And the great thing about intentions is that they can change over the year! We all grow and learn on a daily basis so this is not something set in stone. It can change and grow along with you.
There's no "one size fits all" when it comes to setting your intentions for a new year. We are all different and unique. So what may work for your friend, may not work for you.
I challenge you to look at the new year with intentions and see how it works for you.
Happy New Year!
I love this time of year when I get holiday cards from friends
that include letters about the fantastic year they have had.
They mention all the milestones their children have reached and the
amazing trips they took. I have had years like that before…but not this past one. Which is exactly why I didn’t send out a letter about my Very Bad Year. No one wants to hear all that. They just want to know the good, not the ugly. And that is totally understandable.
Instead, I figured I would share my letter (if I were to do it, which I am not) here with all of you!
I can officially call the year 2013 the "Year of Michelle’s Breakdown." It really started around the holidays last year. I just felt off…I couldn’t really put my finger on anything specific other than I didn’t feel right. Once January hit and school started back for my daughter, I began to have stomach aches and nausea pretty regularly. It started when I went out of the house. Then it happened at home and did not stop.
You know that feeling when you are driving and you almost get hit by another car? Well, I pretty much
had that feeling for three months. It got to the point where I literally could not leave my house. The only time I did leave was when my husband would drive me to the doctor or the ER because I knew I was dying. I just didn’t know why. I lost too much weight as I literally couldn’t eat a bite of anything. I had every possible test run and every doctor came back telling me I was perfectly fine and healthy. BUT I WASN’T!
I was at my lowest point, just lying in bed crying and wishing it would all go away. And it did… once I
checked myself in to a psychiatric hospital. You can read about that here.
How could I end up with a diagnosis of extreme anxiety and major depression? Well, for starters, if
you have extreme anxiety, you are most likely depressed about it as it limits your life completely. Anxiety is a nasty problem to have and can literally ruin your life. I went to one counselor who had been working in the business for over 20 years and she told me, in front of my husband, that I had the worst case she had ever seen. Well, I do strive to be #1 most of the time, but this wasn’t a trophy I wanted to display on the mantle.
At the hospital I was put on pharmaceutical medications. I fought it for so long and knew this was the only way out at the time. I tried every single holistic method I could and absolutely nothing worked. But the medications allowed me to get my life back, sort of. The biggest problem was that they left me feeling completely sleepy all day, every day. I also feel like I went through the last 9 months like a zombie, no real highs or lows….just mediums.
I researched every possible article on anxiety that I could find on the internet. And I was shocked at how many people actually experience it. Not many get to the point where I did, thankfully. But it is common and it is sad that more people don’t discuss it. I felt completely alone and knew there was no way I could explain any of this to someone that had never experienced it. Even my poor husband was at a loss at trying to understand. I can remember begging him one day to take me to the ER and he didn’t want to
because he knew what would happen: they would run tests and nothing would show up wrong. I went so many times that I will be paying off these medical bills for the next few years, lucky me.
So what I found was that there HAD to be something wrong in my head (literally!). I found a Functional Medicine doctor and went to see her about 6 weeks ago. She ran a bunch of tests and discovered I have a parasite and candida. I wasn’t expecting those two as I eat really clean and haven’t taken antibiotics in years. But the best news I got was from a blood test she performed which measured my organic acids, amino acids and minerals, among a few more. This test revealed I was low in EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY. So normally that would be bad news, but it is great news because now I have found the source of this horrific anxiety. My body basically isn’t absorbing the amino acids and vitamins most likely due to the parasite. This for me was proof that I am NOT crazy! There are medical reasons behind my issues that eating all the healthy food in the world wouldn’t fix until I found the root problem. And for that, I am so thankful.
I am now treating the parasite, then will follow up with a candida treatment and am supplementing the amino acids in the meantime. I am not fully healed yet but, for the first time all year, there is light at the end of this tunnel!
So really, this anxiety tore through me and my family for the better part of 2013. How do you write that in a letter to all your friends and family? Well, you don’t!
So now that I have shared all this, I can tell you that this year has been life changing for me in so many great ways. I have learned to appreciate the little things and I work daily to not sweat the small stuff. I have learned to put myself first and make sure that I am whole and healthy. I am calmer and more in touch with my feelings than ever before. I literally hadn’t cried once since my mom’s funeral 4 years ago but this year I have given myself permission to shed tears if I need to.
And it wouldn’t be a proper letter if I didn’t mention that my awesome 6th grade daughter played club volleyball in the spring and is already practicing for the season starting in January. She barely weighs 80 pounds but has mastered her jump serve and I couldn’t be more proud of her. I am thankful that she weathered the storm of this year with me and came out just fine.
I am thankful for my incredible husband that supported and loved me every single day of this year, through all the hard times. I cannot even imagine what he felt the night he left me at the psychiatric hospital. I know it was hard for him as well. But through it, we became even closer and stronger. And that, at the end of the day, is what really matters.
So 2013 was a rough year, but we made it through. I am anticipating a much better holiday letter next year! So stay tuned!
Note: I am sharing this very personal story publicly in hopes that it can help others who have been in my shoes to know you are not alone. Mental health issues, when not treated, can lead to so many devastating things, including suicide. My feeling is that there needs to be more help out there for people that need it. I went through probably 20 doctors that basically dismissed me and offered no help. It's not their fault, they just probably weren't trained to identify issues like this when all my physical tests came back negative. True change starts by having these open conversations and when we let go of the shame behind it.
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green December 10, 2013
I used to do this all the time: I would do something for someone and they would thank me and I would reply with something along the lines of, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” I would always brush off the "thank yous" because for some reason they made me feel uncomfortable. Why was it that I couldn't just accept their thanks and feel good that I'd made a difference for someone? But I know so many of us do this daily. We don't value our role in other's lives, nor do we give ourselves credit for being a caring friend.
I'm also guilty of the the following: when I am out in public and someone compliments my purse, shoes, hair or something else, I am always quick to say “Oh, I got it at XYZ store on sale.” When in reality, I should just say, “Thank you.” That's all. I shouldn’t feel the need to say where I got something or that it was on sale. I work hard for the money I make, and if I am able to purchase something nice, I should appreciate these kinds of comments. We should all be mindful to accept these compliments without feeling guilty.
Have you ever had a bad day and someone says something nice to you? That one compliment can turn your entire day around. But why do we feel the need to brush these things off? In this fast-paced life we all lead, it is nice to receive compliments from someone. This is why I make myself smile and say, "Thank you so much" and leave it at that. There's no need to make excuses or act like it was no big deal. Accept the kind words and know it came from someone's heart.
In addition, when someone genuinely thanks you for something you've done, you should appreciate that and respond with, “You're welcome.” That's all that’s needed. And know in your heart that you touched someone enough for them to appreciate you. So appreciate yourself right back. Responding with an excuse or justification that what you did really didn't matter undermines yourself as a person. Love yourself, and know you did something worthwhile.
All too often we undervalue our gifts to others. And that's undervaluing ourselves. There's no need to act like it was nothing when we did something special for another person. This could be as simple as holding the door for someone or sending a nice letter to a friend. We should all be considerate of others and say "thank you" and "you’re welcome" more often.
At the end of my daughter’s last volleyball season, I sent an email to the Team Mom who organized everything for all of the tournaments. She had sign-up lists, sent reminder emails and basically made sure that our girls had everything they needed to be successful during our all-day tournaments. After my email expressing gratitude for all her help, she immediately responded back with “Oh, it was no big deal.” But it was! She made sure the girls had plenty of nourishing food and drink between games, coordinated ribbons that we gave the girls at each tournament to put on their backpacks and so much more. She put a lot of effort into making sure everything ran smoothly. And when I genuinely thanked her, she didn’t give herself the credit for all the hard work she had done. I wish she would have just said, “Thank you” for her own sake and to know that she made a huge difference for the entire team.
The next time someone thanks you for something, respond with a smile and say, “You are very welcome.” Notice how you feel? It feels much better than brushing it off. Take this to heart and know you have done something that touched another person.
And when people go out of their way to make a difference in your life, not matter how big or small, be sure to thank them. It could very well make their day!
The holiday season seemed to creep up too fast on me this year. I guess you could say I am not really ready for it. I am, however, ready for a new year to start fresh, but getting the tree out, decorating the house and singing carols just doesn’t seem to fit right now. Generally I already have the tree up with all the trimmings by this time, but not this year.
I have been focusing a lot of attention on myself the past 6 months and worked really hard to put my own needs at the top of my list. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so rewarding. Before I started this focus, I was the last one in line for getting my needs met. I was always putting everyone else before me and realized that if I did not take care of myself, then I was no good to everyone around me, no matter how hard I tried.
This holiday will be a bit different as well.My daughter and step-children will not be here to celebrate. Without having the kids, it just doesn’t seem the same. We are past the age of Santa (thank goodness) so I don’t feel obligated to spend an entire day decorating, only to take it all down a few weeks later.
However, it does make me happy to have the house decorated, but I don't have the energy this year.
In addition, my birthday is on the 13th so it always seemed like the holidays stole my thunder for the month! I can’t even count how many times I received Christmas ornaments as birthday presents as a kid. I generally do not make a big deal out of my birthday, but this year I am turning 40 and I am doing things my way. I have let go of my feelings of needing to be perfect. Because I now know, this just sets me up for failure every single time. I am also letting go of my worries about what my neighbors will think. They all spent hours putting lights outside their houses and I have always felt the need to compete, or at least make an effort. Not this year though. I am okay with what they choose to think about our lack of lights and decorations. That is not what really matters and it is so empowering to let go of what other’s may think of you.
This may seem like I have lost my spirit for the season, but that isn’t the case. I am more grateful and more thankful than any years in the past. This is what I feel like the holidays are about. And it’s not something that we should just celebrate once a year, we should be loving, kind and thankful all year long.
I recently did a collage where I took pictures of the ordinary day-to-day things in my life that bring me happiness. This was an assignment in one of Brene’ Brown’s courses. It was so eye opening! I found myself snapping a picture of my daughter getting ready for school even though she was grumpy, the fresh flowers my husband brought me for no reason and one too many pictures of my adorable dog. Then I started seeing things in a different light. For example, every morning I open the refrigerator and my smoothie is waiting for me. My husband makes it for me before he goes to work each morning at 6:30. It is a small thing, but one that I appreciate every single day. So, I snapped a picture of my smoothie as this is something meaningful in my life. The next night I left him a note by the blender telling him how much I appreciated this every morning. And he called me later and told me that it made his day.
So I am giving myself permission to not go through the motions of decking our halls this year and instead, I am focusing on truly being grateful and thankful for all the blessings in my life. This, to me, is time well spent.
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green Saturday November 2, 2013: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11462/why-im-excited-to-turn-40.html
In a little over a month, I will officially hit the big 4-0! So many people
dread these major birthdays, but I am actually looking forward to what the next decade holds for me. There are so many reasons why I am embracing this new chapter in my life and actually looking forward to my 40’s.
1. I am more confident in myself.
When I was younger, I had confidence in my abilities, but it was lost somewhere around the time I had my daughter at the age of 28. My career path was amazing and I had so much potential to really be successful. Then I had my
daughter and it seemed I could barely stay awake at work and she was sick all the time. I lost my focus and my confidence at that point. Now that I'm turning 40, I feel I have it back and I can tackle the world with my four decades of
2. I am more financially responsible.
I am actually saving for retirement and feel more secure in the money department than I have in the past. I don’t spend frivolously and am working to pay down my credit card debt. As you get older, you actually see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to make sure I am financially able to retire by the age of 60.
3. I found the right partner that I know will be by my side the rest of my life.
I got married at the early age of 23 and didn’t really know what I wanted out of life, much less a marriage. That lasted only five years and I have held out for Mr. Right and finally found him after nine years of looking. It's so exciting and comforting to know that I get to have my best friend with me through all of life’s ups and downs. With this kind of support and love, I know we can make it through whatever life throws our way.
4. I am finally getting enough sleep.
My daughter is now in 6th grade and sleeps all night long without having to get up for feedings and diaper changes. She is old enough to make her own breakfast and get ready for school by herself and I no longer have to lug around car seats and diaper bags. Now I can enjoy spending time with her and have real conversations. I truly enjoy having her friends over and still feel young enough to hang out with them but old enough to offer advice on how to manage being a pre-teen.
I can still remember my own slumber parties, discovering boys, school dances and everything else that comes with that age. I love getting to guide my daughter through this stage in her life.
5. I am old enough to finally get that tattoo that I never could decide on.
In my earlier years, I wasn’t passionate about anything enough to permanently ink something on my body. I am so glad I waited and didn’t make a bad decision that required months of laser removal. Two weeks ago I finally allowed myself permission to get my first tattoo and I love it! I got the words “Just Breathe” on my right foot so when I am in yoga class it's there as a constant reminder. I know this is something that I won’t regret a few years down the road.
6. I feel healthier than ever before. In college and as a new mom, I ate like crap.
At the time I didn’t realize it, but now, I know I was eating horrible foods that were just making me feel worse. Now I know how to prepare a healthy meal for my family and am learning to eat and experiment with new foods all the time. I am so happy to enter my 40s with the knowledge of what foods make me look and feel the best.
7. I decided last year to go back to school to study nutrition.
Going to college at 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or my career. I would have majored in General Studies because I was so undecided, but alas, they wouldn’t let me. I finally chose to major in Journalism which I am now thankful for. I'll never regret getting a college education, but going back to school at the age of 40 is completely different. I
get excited to learn more each week and don’t stress about the tests. I can finally focus on topics that I am passionate about.
8. I don’t feel the need to go to bars in order to have a social life.
I can spend my time and money on things that are much healthier for me than drinking until 2am. I used to feel like I was missing out if I didn’t go to every happy hour with friends from work. Now, I know I am much more content spending time with my family in healthier ways. I enjoy every day by waking up early instead of sleeping off a hang-over until noon on the weekends.
9. I finally feel like I have my life in order.
I have hopes and dreams and can see a future. I have great things to look forward to. Prior to this stage, I was just making it through one day at a time. Now I'm actually planning a few years down the road, which has never happened before.
10. I am truly blessed to have amazing friends from my childhood that are all entering this new decade along with me.
When we get together, we definitely don’t act 40. We laugh and joke like we did as kids. It’s as though nothing has changed in the past 20 years, and for that, I am entirely grateful.
Anyone else about to hit a major birthday? I recommend looking at the blessings you have, the experience you have gained and moving into the next years with hope and happiness!
I have recently started going to yoga at least 5, if not more, times per week. I have dabbled with it in years past and enjoyed the stretching and the balancing poses. But it wasn't until I started going faithfully each week that I have truly found why people love it. It took me a while to "get it" and I finally feel that I am doing just that. I struggle on a daily basis with maintaining my anxiety. It is something that is a constant battle for me as I have a thousand things running through my head at any given time. Yoga is the one hour of my day that I block all that out and truly just focus on my breathing. And it has made amazing changes in my life. If I miss a day, I can tell in my mood and my body. Never have I felt that way about running or going to a gym!
For me, practicing yoga is very spiritual as well as relaxing. I love going to the harder classes to challenge myself. It's a great feeling when I can stretch a little farther or hold a pose a little longer than I could the day before. I also feel like I am at least an inch taller when I leave. For real, I think I grow in there!
I can feel the changes in myself and the way that I handle situations. I am now much calmer and more relaxed about things. When I get home, I literally feel happier and healthier. And I am sure I am much more pleasant to be around.
I used to look at the last few minutes of class as a quick little nap, but now I see that time as so much more. It is weird how it just changes you. Tonight, for example, a big storm blew in at the end of class and it was so incredibly peaceful to be in a room with the sound of heavy rain and lightning. I wasn't worried about getting wet or driving home, I just enjoyed the sounds of nature.
But there is one thing that bothered me and I'm not sure I should have been irritated but I will let you tell me your thoughts. A couple days ago I was at a class that was packed. We all had a decent amount of space, but not near as much as normal. I ended up near the shelves that hold the blankets and bolsters which was totally fine with me. I like being closer to a wall in case I lose my balance I can just grab the wall! Anyways, TWO different women stepped ON my yoga mat while making their way over to the shelves. Not one, but two! For some reason, I just found this a bit rude. I mean, this is my mat...my sacred space for one hour. All mine, no sharing with anyone. And they just stepped right on it when they could have very easily gone around. Am I wrong for getting a little grossed out by their bare feet on my sacred mat? Of course, I didn't say anything but it did throw me off for a bit.
But with a few deep breaths, I was able to get over it quickly. And once I got home, I quickly cleaned my mat to get off any germs.
If you have not tried yoga, I highly recommend it. It has made amazing changes in my life and I know it could in yours as well. And if there are any single guys out there, yoga is the place to find cute girls!
My article as it originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green October 1, 2013:
Have you ever felt like you needed a bag of chips or chocolate bar immediately, and you couldn't focus on anything but feeding that craving? This is typical for so many of us, but it isn't entirely normal and can often indicate several different issues.
For starters, you may just be thirsty and a glass of water can help satisfy the craving. Or it could mean you're hungry, plain and simple. But it can also be something deeper. If the majority of your diet consists of packaged and processed foods, your body is most likely lacking the nutrients that it needs to thrive.
Needing acceptance, pleasure or love can also manifest in cravings. These intense urges can cause you to fill this need with something crunchy or savory. This is when you need to stop and listen to your body to figure out what it's truly trying to tell you.
In the parenting world, it seems that every reward comes in the form of food: cupcakes, ice cream, chips or candy. What happened to the time when you were rewarded with a dollar to put in your piggy bank? I see parents all the time bribe their children with candy and junk food. This tells them at an early age that if they do what they are told, they'll be rewarded with junk food.
This also happens in the work environment. At my job recently, there was an all-day health fair at the office. We all got weighed, had our fingers pricked for cholesterol, and our BMIs calculated. This was great, but two days later there was an all-company email letting everyone know there was “CAKE IN THE BREAK ROOM.” So here we are, as adults, still being rewarded with food that doesn’t nourish our bodies and that only contributes further to the vicious craving cycle.
Here are questions to ask yourself next time you are craving something unhealthy:
1. What's my hunger level?
If you haven’t eaten in four hours, then your body is most likely telling you it is time for lunch. If you just ate, rate your hunger level on a scale of 1 to 10. You might find that hunger isn’t really the issue.
2. What have I eaten today?
If you can't remember, it might be good to keep a food journal for a few days to notice any patterns. Figure out what you've already had, and determine what was lacking. For example, if you had a donut and coffee for breakfast, your body is most likely craving a good salad with protein for lunch to counteract the sugary breakfast.
3. What's my mood?
Try to really get in touch with your emotions about eating. If you're tired or cranky, you may feel that eating will solve this problem. But if you find you're binging on unhealthy foods, it could be your body telling you that you're lacking support or love in your life. This is where you really have to dig deep to uncover what these emotions and cravings are really about. Many times, they aren't about food at all.
4. What diet and lifestyle am I following?
If you're vegan or vegetarian, but are craving red meat, it's most likely your body telling you it needs this right now. If you've cut out a major food group and you feel intense cravings for it, your body is speaking to you. If you aren’t getting enough protein from certain food groups, your body will let you know by signaling certain cravings.
Here are a few suggestions for healthier alternatives when you have a craving for “bad” food:
Chips/Crackers: Try crisp vegetables, like carrot sticks with hummus.
Cookies/Cake: Try oatmeal bars or dried fruit instead.
Ice Cream/Milk Shakes: Make a healthy smoothie with frozen bananas, strawberries and almond milk.
Candy/Sour or Tangy: Try water with lemon or fresh salsa on greens.
No one likes to feel deprived, and that's really at the heart of why diets don’t work. They focus on cutting out certain foods rather than adding in delicious, healthy ones. If you have a craving for something sugary, you don’t have to deny yourself for the rest of your life. You can still enjoy treats sometimes, but pay attention to the portion and try to only eat half of what you were planning. If you sit down and chew slowly, you won’t need as much to really enjoy and feel satisfaction.
If you are eating well-balanced, healthy meals on a regular basis, you'll find your body stops craving junk food. It takes time, but it's so worth it in the long run.
Having already watched my parents both die from cancer, my life has been altered drastically. It has been 10 years since my dad died and 4 for my mom. Every now and then my phone will ring and I will find myself thinking its her calling. I think of them every single day and am so thankful to have had them in my life for the time that I did. I learned a lot from these losses and wrote about it to hopefully help others that have been in my shoes. Life is fragile, make the most of it!
When my mom realized her cancer was terminal, she told me she wanted to have her funeral before she died. She didn't want everyone to show up after it was over, she wanted to see them while she still could. This photo to the left was taken that day. What an amazing time she had, even though she was very sick. I threw her the best pre-funeral in less than 10 days that I could and over 100 of our family and friends came to join us. What a blessing!
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green July 31, 2013:
Death. It's a word many people don’t like to discuss. However, death is inevitable for each and every one of us, and it's something that should be discussed openly with loved ones. Unfortunately, I've had to witness quite a few deaths over the past decade, which has taught me many life lessons.
Here are some of them:
1. Life is not long enough to justify staying in situations that make you
After watching my dad die at the age of 61, it put my life into perspective. I was 29 at the time and a new mother. My dad had been the definition of health and somehow ended up with cancer that took his life within six months of diagnosis. Immediately after his death, I evaluated my own life and realized that my marriage wasn’t healthy for me. If he had not died, I probably would have stayed, miserable, for many more years.
2. Put family first.
My mom had breast cancer at age 54 and, after treatment, was considered cancer-free for five years. At the five-year mark, she found out that it had come back in her bones, lungs and other areas. The doctors told me that she was
terminal and had maybe a few months to live. Being an only child and not having my father for help, I had to make huge decisions about what to do. I was fortunate to be able to afford to quit my job and devote myself to my mother fully and help her through the process of dying. She ended up living for 13 months and those are months that I cherish and am so thankful to have had with her.
3. You must give yourself time and space to grieve.
I learned this the hard way. When my dad died, I had a one-year-old and was going through a divorce. In addition, my mom had extreme depression, and I had her move into an apartment with me and my daughter, so I could keep an eye on her. I was still in the caregiving role and wasn’t able to begin to process the magnitude of losing my dad. He had always been the strong one in our family, and without him there to guide me through the toughest time in my life, my solution was to not deal with it.
Fast forward ten years. My body forced me to deal with it and wouldn’t allow me to go another day without resolution. What I've learned is that the best thing is to deal with grief as quickly as possible, but also remember that everyone grieves in a different way and in different time frames. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t just “get over it” in what you feel is the right timeframe. You really don’t ever forget, but it does get easier as time passes. In order to deal with grief, you have to find what works best for you. There are lots of avenues including counseling and support groups.
4. Lean on friends and family for support, even if you think they won't understand.
I am blessed to have a few amazing close friends that I could have turned to after my parent’s death. In hindsight, I should have reached out more to my friends for help through such a difficult time. However, I didn’t want to bother anyone with my sadness, and I really felt as if they wouldn’t understand. I now know that even though they had not experienced such loss, they could have helped me cope during the hard days. Your close friends are there for
a reason: because they love you and care about you. Let them help you through times of grief and loss.
5. Tell your loved ones how you feel about them as much as possible.
I never thought in a million years that my dad would actually die. I knew he was sick with cancer, but I assumed he would beat it since he was so strong. So when the call came from my mom that he was being life-flighted to Houston and
might not live, it was a huge shock to me. By the time I saw them wheel him into the ICU, I realized that he was not going to make it much longer. I held his hand and told him that I loved him. That was all I had to say because I had told
him how much l loved and appreciated him my entire life. I didn’t need to tell him anything more, he already knew.
6. Even if your loved one isn’t responding, he is still there until the last breath.
My mom was at an in-patient hospice facility for 11 days. For eleven full days, I sat by her side and waited for her to die. I counted her breaths, I felt her feet, I watched for all the signs that she was in the final hours. But they never came. It was about Day 9 when the Hospice Chaplain came to me and told me that she was going to pass away on her own time. He said she wasn’t ready yet. He instructed me to go in and tell her that it was okay for her to let go. This was the hardest thing I have ever done. I held her hand, and touched her cheeks as I told her that she could go and that I was going to be
all right. After I said what I needed to say, a tear ran down her cheeks. I know she heard me. Even though she hadn’t been able to speak for almost two weeks, she was still with me and knew that she had my permission to get go. She took
her last breath the following day with me by her side.
7. The cliche is true: live each day like it were your last.
My dad was always saving money for retirement. He had huge plans for the golden years and saved accordingly. I remember he and my mom struggling financially and not taking the best trips because he was so busy saving for the
future. Well, the future never came for them, and neither one of them got to enjoy retirement. I've learned to find a balance between saving for retirement, but still taking that vacation you've been putting off. We have all heard that
saying about live each day like it were your last. You don’t have to go that extreme, but be aware that life is fragile and is a wonderful gift.
Choose to live life to the fullest!
Taking time out and "FOMO"
I didn't realize how badly that I needed to get away from everything until I was in the mountains of Arizona last week with my husband's family. As soon as I started to breathe in the fresh air and feel the cool breeze, I knew I was in the right place.
I have been going non-stop for several months now and felt like I was managing stress and my time wisely. But there is something about getting out of the house and going somewhere new. I was able to just enjoy being with family without the daily distractions of working 2 jobs, cooking, laundry, bills, etc. I actually had my cell phone off for most of the trip which felt amazing.
My husband's step-mom told me about something she read called "FOMO." Of course I had to know what this meant. She said it is "Fear of Missing Out." Many people are constantly on Facebook or social media and ignore all that is going on around them. She explained that these types of people are constantly checking their Facebook for fear that they might miss something important. I found this to be quite true as I see it all the time. Everywhere I turn people are on their phones while doing other things. Our society has taken multi-tasking to a whole new level...which can sometimes be unhealthy.
So for me, getting away to enjoy beautiful scenery and be fully present with my family was the most amazing vacation ever and exactly what I needed.
I arrived home with loads of laundry and things to do but just felt an overall sense of peace and just tackled things one at a time.
I encourage you to put the phone down, step away for the computer and just enjoy the moment you are in, the present.
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!