I've posted about this before, and everyone knows that it is true; grief comes in waves. Lately, I have been in that stage of transitioning back to normal. Or rather, finding a new normal.
Even though my dad and I didn't see each other as often as I would have liked, there was still that peace of knowing he was there, and that there was still time for more. I find myself grieving more of what wasn't than what was. I miss him so much.
I have been getting by okay...as best as I can, and I feel confident of that.
I recently saw my therapist, and she gave me a piece of paper with strategies on how to deal with grief. I was pleased to find that I have been doing everything that was listed.
Then as I was going through my own Instagram account last night, I was looking at photos I have posted recently - everything symbolic of my healing process. From there, I started thinking about how I have been dealing with my grief, and thought I would pass along the information to all of you. :) God has been so good and strong in my life.
Spend quality time with people who love and inspire you.
It has been so healing to be around people who love and inspire me. People who I can be myself around and share my faith, grief, and heart with. People who accept me and also challenge me in a good way. It just makes me come alive and want to strive for more.
I have been enjoying spending time with my good friends Jon and Charlotte, and their daughter Liza. Every week I sit with them at church, and we worship the Lord together. They are preparing to embark on a trip to the Middle East come summer, and their faith and passion inspire me so much. Time with them always feels good for my soul.
My mentor, Leslie, has also been a huge blessing during this time. She has been a big part of my life for almost 6 years now. She has seen me through so much. Many dark times, but also many moments of joy and triumph. She has been constant in prayer for my life, guiding me when I need it most. She lives on a farm in Ortonville and is currently caring for her 2 foster daughters, who are 9 months old and 2 and a half. So much love from and for them.
Then there is my boyfriend, Jared. Every day I am so inspired by his work ethic and passion for life. He gets things done and always finds joy in the process. He makes me feel included and loved. The beautiful thing is that he seems to love me without making it feel or seem like "work" for him. He just does it. Always taking care of me in big ways and small...even when we were both sick this weekend (thanks for the Pedialyte, babe!).
I also find myself calling my mom way more often than before (which was still often). But it has been important for my healing to stay connected to her. She is always there to answer any call, even when I don't even have anything to say.
I could go on and on about all the love from family and friends, but I will stop there for now. :)
Take care of your body and get that workout in!
When you are grieving, it can seem almost impossible to want to make the effort to take care of yourself. For me though, it has been quite the opposite.
I started to find a passion for living a more active and healthy lifestyle around the summer of 2014 through boxing and yoga. Then last winter (almost a year ago to be exact) I found a workout program (BBG/Sweat with Kayla circuit training + cardio) that worked for my schedule and also challenged me mentally and physically (I will most likely write a post about this at a later date).
But oh man! Whether it is just 15 minutes or an hour, it has been so good to get that blood flowing and my muscles moving. It's amazing to me that I can simultaneously release stress and toxins while also getting physically stronger in the process. Whaaat?!
Seriously, even if you feel short on time, get that workout in! You will feel so much better when you do and won't regret it.
I also received my yoga instructor certification last year - my goal is to begin to hosting classes soon, so stay tuned!
Find healthy ways to process your grief.
For me, seeing my therapist when I need to and also starting this blog have been HUGE!
Whether it is blogging, journaling, or sharing your journey with someone you look up to, it is so important to share your pain...whatever that may look like. Otherwise it can just sit and fester. It will eventually come out one way or another.
You also don't want to be in denial of your grief and just not deal with it at all. Because guess what? IT IS STILL THERE. Let it in. Feel it. Let it out. Repeat.
I know it can sometimes be scary to reach out to somebody, let alone a therapist, but it will do wonders for your soul and healing process. If you need encouragement in that area, don't hesitate to reach out to me!
Get plugged in to your faith.
I have always, in some way, felt the Holy Spirit on my heart. The peace in the storm. The light in the darkness.
After going to a megachurch and a community church, I finally found rest in a little charismatic episcopal church called Holy Redeemer. I didn't know what an asset this church would be to my spiritual growth and healing process when I first began attending last year. I never could have foreseen that my dad's funeral service would be held there, leaving standing room only.
But to know I am not alone in my struggles and that there is a greater purpose to life, even and especially in human suffering, has brought me a peace that I can't even describe. To know that there is one Who is fighting for our souls and that my dad's soul is at rest brings me a peace I can't describe. The thought that I will be reunited with my dad in Heaven and that he will be healed also brings me a peace that I can't describe.
You are not alone in your suffering. And even if you were the last person on earth, you still would not be alone in your suffering.
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
Unwind/Spend quality alone time.
After a long day of work, I love nothing more than 1 of 2 options: drinking that hot cup of coffee and relaxing...or cleaning!
Unwinding looks different for everybody. Some days, it feels absolutely right to throw on that pair of sweat pants and fuzzy socks and curl up on the couch with a fluffy blanket, coffee, and Netflix. And that is okay!
Other days, it feels amazing to throw on yoga pants and a sports bra and clean the house. That is okay too! Whatever you need to do to unwind is okay! It is healthy as you grieve to do things that make you feel productive. It is also just as healthy (at times) to sit and do nothing. It is all about balance. :)
The important thing is to make sure that you are taking steps in your life to move forward. Grief is hard, but you don't want to sit in it forever. It is good to reflect on the past, but you don't want to stay there and miss out on the amazing things ahead of you. Life is calling you forward, and God wants you to heal.
Even if you aren't struggling with or through grief, these are all healthy and important things to do anyway.
If you need any encouragement or tips on dealing with grief, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You are not alone. Xo.