Well, another year has ‘bit the dust,’ and January has come along with wintry weather, the blues, and resolutions that you may or may not have kept! (This is true for so many of us – no shame, no blame.) Now you find yourself in the month of February, and along comes Valentine’s Day, a day that is thought to celebrate a romantic kind of love, although this does not appear to be true of its historical origins. No matter – what a lovely thought to have a day devoted to the one you love!
One problem is that such a holiday can remind you of something you never had or someone you lost. Perhaps you had somebody but had an extremely negative experience. You might end up feeling out of sorts. Very traumatic memories and feelings can also arise. This can happen if your loss was from a romantic partner, a spouse, another family member, or a friend.
In any case, if you’re feeling anxious and/or depressed, you might want to try journaling – write your thoughts and feelings down on paper (real or virtual). This can be therapeutic for many. If you start to go downhill in your feelings as you pen them, get up and take a break. Go for a walk, do something else – put your mind on something else. This is where distraction can be a good thing!
If you’ve lost a special person, perhaps you can conduct a private ceremony to say goodbye. Or bury something that means something to you about this special individual in the ground, as a way to say goodbye, see you later (according to your beliefs), and allow yourself to move forward.
During such times, you may not be sleeping well, you may be eating poorly both in quantity (i.e., too much or too little), and your food quality choices may suffer. Many people want food items with sugar and refined flour to try to find comfort or compensation, or to distract them from the difficult feeling. So, try to choose more wisely, as it makes no sense to bring your health down if you’re grieving. Instead, support it with good nutrition. You’ll likely cope better!
There are many tools to help people cope with difficult and powerful feelings such as these. For example, many find benefit to engage in tapping (emotional freedom techniques), emotion code (using muscle testing and a magnet), reiki, binaural beats (sound waves), diffusing essential oils, and don’t forget to include your support group during these trying times. If need be, please reach out to a competent counseling professional. There are health and wellness coaches, counselors, psychologists, social workers, case workers, and more. While working with a knowledgeable health care professional, perhaps you can assess your needs for supplements. During trying times, our bodies seem to use up our stores of vitamins, minerals, etc. more quickly.
An older study revealed that there are some jaw muscles (Duchenne) which are involved in laughing. The study showed that laughing hard (not smiling or laughing a little), exercising these muscles, provided some therapeutic respite from grief! So, if possible, try to watch or listen to something that will make you laugh. You don’t need to feel guilty about laughing – it’s good for you and will help you cope with your grief! Of course, you won’t be laughing non-stop and your anxiety and depression will not vanish overnight, but it’s a great bit of knowledge to have in your mental health toolkit.
Above all else, be kind and compassionate toward yourself, as you likely would be to others. Please practice excellent self-care; you are definitely worth it.
And as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.