I took a break from business and social media for about two weeks and many of you have wondered why. First, let me say the concerned messages, snaps, emails and tweets mean so much to me. It is so easy to get caught up being a spectator on social media that we lose the intimacy and personal touch of real communication. Some of you are near, some are far– but always close to my heart. You’re my pals.
I took a break because I lost a family member, and I’m sure you will understand when I say– no one can really fully be prepared. It was sudden, and I just felt like a bunch of time was just snatched from me. I love my family dearly and I do spend a lot of time with them–but it’s never enough. I assumed I had time. Have you been there? You think of something a person you love would enjoy and you think “I’ll take them here one day” or “I’ll share this with them tomorrow”. You just never know how long you really have…
What made this both easy and difficult at the same time was the fact that every single person I would normally go to for comfort was hurting just like I was. In this time we have leaned closer together, bearing one another up and showering each other with love. I have just felt like– this is private– this is a family thing and no one else will understand what I need right now.
Grieving is a process and there’s no set time for how long it will take for you to reach a point of closure. I at first felt shocked, then sad, then a deeper form of devastation. It happened just 5 days before my birthday, and when I thought of that I felt like not celebrating at all. My cousin who is also one of my best friends said, “No. You celebrate with your friends and you celebrate with us, your family. He would have wanted you to celebrate life. Especially at a time like this.” She was right.
It felt wonderful to be surrounded by friends, and my birthday fell on Easter this year so it also just felt like I was closer to God.
A few things I’ve learned about grieving, anxiety and depression that may help you or someone you know.
- Be honest. Don’t try to cover up the pain so much that you avoid it altogether. It isn’t healthy, and it doesn’t promote healing.
- Eat well. Our inclination may be for fast, easy, comforting foods– but just make sure they promote life. Bad food will sink you further into depression.
- Get out and enjoy nature. The day I walked to the beach and breathed in the salty sea air and watched the sunset, I felt so grateful and so alive.
- Seek therapy. There are counselors who can help you work through your grief, depression or anxiety. You may not be able to simply “shake it off”.
- Sleep more.This can be a very exhausting time, and sleep is a way to repair and heal. It can help restore your immune system and clear your head as well.
- Know yourself. Do you need to be alone? Do you need to be around people? Don’t do it for others, do it for you. If you get around a crowd and that overwhelms you, leave. Don’t feel guilty about it.
- Tell the people who matter. Talk to your close friends and family, your boss, and whomever may be affected by your change of pace.
- Get lost in good music or a book. You don’t have to dwell on your troubles all day long. You’re allowed to escape as needed.
- Be around children. They are so sensitive, sweet, and full of joy. Being around my niece and nephew was awesome. Not that I’m comparing children to animals, but being around animals is also very soothing!
- There are no rules. Just remember– everyone responds differently. Don’t judge yourself!