GRIEF + WELLNESS = what?
Have you experienced any of these?
- Chronic pain or illness
- Loss of job or business
- Move to a new place
- Empty nest
- Death of a loved one
- Broken relationship
Experiencing a significant change in a familiar pattern of behavior or circumstances may create a sense of confusion, unknowing, uncertainty, or even grief. If you are recovering from an illness, injury, breakup, death of a loved one or pet, or any number of other life events, you may feel as if your life has been put on pause.
Things that once made sense may cause you to feel unbalanced, ungrounded, and unfamiliar. It may seem as of life is out of your control, “just the way things are.” You may feel as if life is happening to you and the story of your life is being ghostwritten by others.
Or, it may feel as if nothing ever changes, that you are hopelessly stuck in the same old story.
If so, do you feel…
- drained of energy
- emotional pain over the loss
- unfinished emotional business over the loss
- there doesn’t seem to be a future because of your loss
- you need to take action and feel in control of your life again
- you are protecting yourself by not expressing your feelings
- time hasn’t healed any wounds
- like you might be going crazy
You are not alone! Experiencing these thoughts and feelings does NOT mean you’re going crazy. What’s more, while many of the events that bring a sense of loss are considered “negative” – such as an illness, injury, death of a loved one, or change in financial situation – some other events which may lead to these emotions and thoughts are usually considered “positive.”
For example, graduating from high school or college means loss of a familiar routine and group of friends. Promotions at work can mean a loss of control over your schedule. Marriage can bring a loss of personal space and independence. The birth or adoption of a child may mean a loss of sleep and spontaneity. While these events are most often positive, the feelings that show up might not always be.
You aren’t broken, and you don’t need to be fixed…
It can be unsettling when, for whatever reason, what we’ve come to know about our life story has changed. The old way of doing things no longer works, but we keep doing things the way we’ve always done them because, well, it’s automatic.
Although your heart may be broken, you are not. Everything you may be feeling in reaction to a loss is normal and natural. It is okay to feel what you feel, to go through what you’re going through. Transforming your grief into something positive may sound impossible right now.
Even during a season of loss or change, you can create a sense of wellbeing. Change can create the opportunity for possibilities that may not have existed until now. It is possible to create a new story even during a season of change or loss.
– David Krueger, MD, New Life Story® Creator & CEO of MentorPath
Whole-Person approach to wellbeing…
Everything in life is connected. A change in one aspect of our lives can set off a chain reaction in several different areas. When change impacts “the way things have always been” oftentimes people are motivated to make changes that improve health and wellbeing in other aspects of their lives as well.
You deserve to live a more purposeful, meaningful, and joy-filled life. I’d like to invite you to consider the possibilities, to find a fresh perspective and motivation for taking some small steps toward change to discover tools, proven strategies, and meaningful activities to help you create and achieve your goals; to create your new life story.
– David Krueger, MD, New Life Story® Creator & CEO of MentorPath
Wellness during grief…
Our experience of grief is personal. Whether your loss was due to the death of a loved one (or not-so-loved one), a broken relationship, end of a lifestyle or career, change in a hoped-for future, or even loss of faith, you are not going to experience the emotions and changes like anyone else, nor follow any predetermined stages. Every relationship is unique. Every experience is unique.
Can we really be “well” while experiencing grief?
I think we can. Wellness doesn’t mean perfect health or absence of pain. It’s not coming to the end of our grieving. To me, wellness means living the best we can within our circumstances while also exploring creative ways to process our experiences. While it may seem impossible to “be well” in the middle of all that you’re going through, consider the alternative… the possibility of finding meaning, hope, purpose, or even transformation in your life amidst the loss, end, change, the grief you’re experiencing… of being well, in spite of it all.
How are you experiencing your grief?
Do you feel it mostly in your emotions? Can you feel it in your body? Is it showing up in your relationships or work? All of the above?
There are no right or wrong ways to experience grief. Just as there are no right or wrong ways to process all of those experiences. Other people may be uncomfortable or critical of the way they think you’re “handling” your grief (or not handling it, in their opinion), but it’s your experience. That doesn’t mean you must process it alone, or to reject offers of help. It also doesn’t mean that they are wrong. It means that you are unique, just as your relationship to what or who you’re grieving is unique.
If we’re being honest here, are there times when you wish you could “move on” with your life, or “get over” the pain you’re feeling? While things will probably never go back to “the way they were” it is entirely possible that things could get better. That your feelings of stuck-ness can be nudged just enough to catch a glimpse of what could be.
Can you imagine for a moment…
… what you’d rather experience? There are options you may not have considered; after all, you’ve been busy. Let’s take a moment to explore a bit…
- What does grief mean to you?
- What does support look like to you?
- Do you prefer to grieve alone or with others?
- Is it okay to talk about what happened?
- How do you feel when you hear other people describe their grief experiences?
- What is your “go to” method of processing discomfort or confusion?
- Are there people who criticize or complain about your ways of grieving?
- Are there any “shoulds” that pop up as you explore these questions?
- If you had a magic wand, what would you like to change?
How I can help…
Grief Coaching & Companioning
When someone we love dies, or when our health changes and we lose certain abilities, when our careers or primary relationships come to an end, or any number of other losses, our lives can feel turned upside down. While our instinctive reaction is to avoid the overwhelming pain of loss, we eventually discover that denying, hiding, or medicating away our pain is only a temporary solution. Sooner or later our pain demands our attention. When we become willing to face the suffering that comes from loss, we learn how to embrace the pain as we step into the journey through grief. We are then able to integrate the changes into our new lives.
While some of us tend to want to isolate after experiencing loss, taking a journey through the wilderness of grief is easier with a companion – someone who can listen without trying to change or fix you. Rather than viewing grief as a condition or illness that must be cured, I embrace a whole-person wellness view of the normal, natural, and transformational process of grief.
During our sessions, my role is to “sit beside” or “walk alongside” people as they explore these changes, rather than analyzing or fixing anything. I support grievers in transforming their grief into healing, while opening up to the possibility for wellbeing… even joy. While ‘grief counseling’ is a common label for this work, “Grief Coaching & Companioning” is the model I use with many clients. Grief coaching and companioning is about supporting an individual on their unique life journey through transitions and losses,and finding ways to incorporate their loss into daily living.
Coaching & Companioning is appropriate for those who grieve any type of loss, whether it is from the death of a loved one, loss of an important relationship, change in career, health challenges that result in a change in ability or identity. We will discover together what other needs you may have.
Are you ready – or getting ready to be ready – to experience wellness?
I’d like to help you explore the possibility of creating wellness as you process your grief and all that goes with it. I have a number of grief tools and prompts to help you. Or if you’re not ready for that, I’m here just to sit (virtually) alongside you. There are options for people who prefer to read, those who prefer to write, and even tools for those who like to express themselves through making art.
Whether you prefer to work on your own or with a guide, let’s figure out the best way for you. Contact me and I’ll send you more info.
Sue Hasker, MS
Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist® & Certified Wellness Coach