Let’s face it, grief completely sucks! There is no way to sugarcoat it. When you're going through the process, it's possible that the people around you have no idea what to say or how to help, so it can become a very isolating experience. I want you to know that are not alone.
Last year, I was in a serious car accident at no fault of my own. I suffered from both physical and emotional injuries and unfortunately I lost my beautiful, young, studio pup, Fiona. She was my dear friend, my baby, and my therapy dog. Like any other type of healing process, grief is non-linear and completely different for everyone.
It is easy to compare your challenge to another's and try to push down your emotions because “it’s not as bad as …”. But no matter where you are in your healing journey: your feelings are valid, important, and deserve to be processed (at your speed and no one else’s).
For me, right when I felt like I was regaining the strength to keep going, life continued to change rapidly and it was so hard to keep up. Have you ever felt so disconnected that it impacted your creative journey?
The truth is, as much as I felt like I had fallen behind, I had really made a lot of progress. When you’re going through hell it can be hard to see all you've accomplished. No matter what your struggling with, I want to encourage you to keep going. I am here to remind you that its ok to take time for yourself (to rest, to cry, to breathe, to move). I am writing this to remind you that even when you feel like giving up that your creative vision deserves your love and attention.
It wasn’t until I really started to take care of myself that I began to regain momentum. This year has taught me what it means to be resilient, to recover from injury (physical or emotional) and bounce back into shape. Every single challenge you’ve made it through thus far is evidence of your body's resilience. The fact that you are living, breathing, and your beautiful heart is beating is proof enough.
If you’re healing right now, I want to help you move forward.
I am inviting you to learn how to connect to your body, not escape it. Why? Because resilience is your capacity to recover from difficulties. Becoming more connected to your body isn't about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It's about gaining a stronger perspective and being mindful of the relationship between your studio practices and your body, which means noticing how you feel.
Here are some of the strategies that have helped me on my journey.
Give yourself permission to rest.
It’s ok to take a break. Set up an email auto response that lets your audience know you will be away for a little while. This isn’t giving up. It is showing up for yourself first. This doesn’t mean you can’t work at all during that time, but it does give you permission to take the time and space you need.
Read/Listen to a book.
Read books and listen to podcasts by people who are going through something similar. This will not only help you understand you are not alone, but it will help provide you with tools to try. The books Grieving Mindfully and How to Breathe have helped me so much on my non-linear journey. They’ve each helped me understand more about what I am experiencing, while providing me with tools I can implement to keep moving forward.
Create a Meditation Practice
Have you ever tried to meditate? Meditating can seem intimidating to a lot of people, but there are many credible studies that have shown mindfulness meditation can positively impact mental and physical health. Having a consistent practice can help to improve your focus while you're working on what you love to work on most. So why not give it a try? I often hear people say things like, "I don't know how to meditate," or, "I'm so bad at meditating because I can't stop my thoughts from wandering". Does this sound familiar to you? Well, I have good news! The goal doesn't have to be to escape your thoughts! It's ok if your mind wanders. Do you know why? Because you’re human! You aren't some supernatural being, and that's ok. You are a beautiful success just the way you are! If you sit down to meditate and your mind begins to wander, just notice it and return your focus to your breath. Your body will thank you!
Apps like Headspace guide you through different types of accessible exercises to help you work through grief, increase productivity, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and more.
Ask for Help
Let’s face it: we can’t do everything on our own. Whether its needing help with your work and hiring an assistant or working with a professional to overcome loss, ptsd, anxiety, depression or any type of trauma, it’s critical to ask for help when needed. Holding it in can negatively impact your relationships, creative workflow/business, and daily routine. You deserve to feel great in your mind and body!