How a Morning Routine Can Help in Healing Your Grief
I've shared often on my Instagram how each morning I get up and take time for myself. I'll often read my devotionals, some pages of my most recent personal development book, and write. I have done this morning routine for a number of years, but the past few years it's been a big part of my healing after my Mom's passing. Facing grief is not something you can prepare for. We've all had friends and family face the loss of a loved one, however it is something you can't even begin to fathom until you've gone through it yourself. I've lost grandparents over the years, friends, and acquaintances, but the loss of your mother...it's like no other.
Over the past year and a half since I watched my mother take her last breath I've had friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that have also gone through losing their mothers. We're all part of this "club" that we didn't want to become a member of. I've reached out to them and shared my condolences and told them that I'm here for them if they ever want an understanding ear. However, what I can't do is tell them how to get through it, because it's different for everyone. How you process the endless emotions, the days that you are overcome with anxiety, sadness, and pain, and then the days that you feel "okay" is something that you have to navigate as they come. What I can do is share how I've found my way through the past 20 months in hopes that it might help others find their way through their grief. All we can do is be here for one another when we just might need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to kindly listen to our stories.
My Morning Routine
Each Morning I wake up before my boys and I take time for myself to do the things that bring me some peace. I will read my devotionals, spend time exercising, or journal for a little while. This morning quiet time is so important because it gives me time alone where I'm not interrupted by my children needing something or others wanting my attention. This time is for me. It's time to work through my stress, emotions, thoughts, and feelings without interruption. I find that writing brings me peace and allows me to work through my feelings. Sometimes it's writing in my journal or devotional in response to the scripture that day. Sometimes it's quick goals I'm setting for myself or things that I'm grateful for. Whatever it might be it's a time for me to release what's on my mind. I'll write thoughts or things I might not be ready to share with others but need a way to release them.
Exercise and Movement
I have have always been into fitness and exercise, but during my mother's battle with cancer it fell by the wayside. I spent all my time devoted to her and my family and had little time for myself. Throughout those 4 months I gained 30 pounds and was filled with so many emotions. I took on the stress and sadness of my family as well as my own and coped with that by eating to fill the pain. After losing her I went into a very dark place. It took all of my willpower to get moving my body again even though it was something that I've always enjoyed doing since I was a kid. I had a hard time finding joy in things that used to always bring me joy and happiness. Little did I know that exercising would be what saved me from myself. My sister Amy and I talked on the daily and over time we motivated and supported each other to get back in to our weekly running and exercising. The first runs and workouts were filled with tears as it helped us get out our anger, sadness, and grief. During each workout or run at some point I ended up in tears, sometimes uncontrollably. But as each workout, day, and week passed the tears lessened and I began to find myself feeling better. Over time I found a community that my sister shared with me, filled with women all facing their own journey, whether it be weight loss, health, grief, or self image, we were all there for our own reasons, but all there to support and uplift one another. This community (Fitness Programming by CVG) is what truly helped me start to heal through my grief journey as well as bring me out of a depression. I began feeling better as the months have passed and began to smile and laugh again.
You'll often hear people gripe about those that share their fitness or workouts on social media. However, for me it's because of those women that I've started to move through my grief of the loss of my mother, because those women that share their fitness journey have motivated me to keep going. They've motivated me to share and talk about my journey. Moving my body has released my pent up emotions and helped me start to feel a little more like me again. Whether it be a walk, a workout at home, riding a bike, or a hike in the woods moving your body increases your endorphins and positive emotions and makes you feel happier. Even 15 minutes a day can make a big difference.
Journaling and Writing
As I previously mentioned during my morning routine I enjoy taking time each day to journal or write. Ever since I was a young girl I've enjoyed putting my thoughts down on paper. It's always been a way for me to release my inner thoughts. I didn't realize as I faced the loss of my mother that it was going to become such a big part of my healing process. I now hope that by writing and sharing what I'm going through it also helps others find ways to heal and know that they're not alone in what they are feeling or experiencing. Each morning I take some time, even as little as 5 minutes some days, and write whats on my mind. Through my journaling I release my emotions that build up each day. On the hardest days, when I'm feeling big feelings of grief and loss, and at times anger over it all, it helps me work through all those emotions. Releasing those feelings is so important because it opens you up to begin healing and learning how to accept how things have changed. Try taking some time each day to write down what's on your mind. It can be doodles on a page, a few words that come to mind, a few sentences that you want to release, a poem, or even drawing or sketching a picture. There are no rules on what to do, just put the pen to paper and see what comes to you.
This is something I've been working on but is still very new. Taking time to sit in silence each day to calm your mind and find inner peace is important in times of stress and grief. Meditation helps to gain a new perspective on stressful situations, helps you focus on the present, reduce negative emotions, and increase your self awareness. Start with a few minutes each day and build your time slowly. Just a few minutes each day can make a big difference. There are many apps on your smartphone or TV you can download to guide you through simple meditation sequences. You can even search on YouTube and find videos to guide you through even as little as 5 minutes of meditation. If you'd like more information on this feel free to reach out to me and I can share some with you what I find helpful.
Give It Time
This is one of the most important pieces to remember. Time. Healing through grief takes time. You can't expect that in only a few weeks, months, or even a year that you'll be through all the emotions that come with losing a loved one. You will always miss the person you've lost. You will have times over the years that you are overcome with emotions, however you will be able to handle those emotions with a more level head as time goes on. I miss my mother every day. As holidays near, birthdays, or special events I wish with all my heart she was there with our family celebrating. I know she is there in spirit, and she is smiling down, as your family member is too. The pain doesn't go away, you will feel twinges of it all the time, however as the days, months, and years pass you will be abe to feel that pain, acknowledge it, and think with fondness of your loved one.
As I looked at my son recently on his 14th birthday I thought of how my mother always took him for a special birthday date. They'd go shopping, have lunch, and spend the day together. She did this with all her grandchildren. I thought fondly of those days as I looked at him. I am so glad both my boys have those special memories with my mother and they will always cherish them. Thinking of how they won't have more memories with her pulled at my heart and brought some tears to my eyes, but this day I was able to thank my mother for the time she spent with my children. I had come far since the first birthdays we had without her, but it still hurt nonetheless.
How you heal through your grief is personal. Everyone heals in their own way. Finding what works for you and gives you time to process your feelings is what is most important. My mornings are the one time each day I have to myself and it's given me that time to find my peace with the loss. I hope that this may have helped you in some way find ideas to begin your healing. Know that you're not alone in your feelings. Know that there are other people that you can talk with and will support you in your journey. Know that what your feeling is part of the process and that you will find peace and a way to move forward as each day passes.