Grief, Stress and Healing

the petals of pink flowers illuminated against a dark background (bokeh'd hill with darkness above)

Poem on backdrop with flower illuminated. Poem: Our hearts are breaking, broken.
We need time for it. 
It isn’t something that goes away just like that. 
It is confusing. Overwhelming.
It can come up in unexpected ways. 
We may feel anger, sadness, guilt, irritability, pain. 
We can think we've got it all together
and then blagh.
It can be harder to connect, harder to reach out. 
It can be hard to process. 
It can guide you in realizing what matters most to your heart.
Of telling people that you love them.
That they’re valuable. 
That what they give to the world matters.
That they make your world a better place. 
A kinder place.
A free-er place.
Of creating calmness, 
Where people feel safe to let down their walls.
Where people feel safe being vulnerable for healing
And connect openly with others.
It can remind you of the power of kindness.
It can remind you of the power of a smile.


- a. b.


Many people in this world are stressed out or grieving.

It’s not all about the same thing as coronavirus impacts each of our lives differently and disproportionately. 

Some of us are grieving the loss of our roles in life, the loss of our meaningful occupations, the ease of doing things that are important to us. People are learning to adapt (sometimes failing forward). Some of us have known this loss for years through inaccessibility and social forces like ableism, racism, classism, and more – and wonder if the current accessibility measures will remain. There are small businesses struggling to stay afloat. Families having a hard time keeping (or getting) a roof over their heads, food on the table. There are people living on the streets who have hard times social distancing and accessing toilets. People are working the frontlines, increasing their risk of exposure to the disease. Some of us are physically alone. There are policies coming out that spark fears that people will be left behind. Hate speech continues. Parents are figuring out how to support their children’s learning while continuing to work full-time from home.  Some of us are grieving losses beyond COVID. People are dealing with things that some of us can’t even imagine.

However you feel right now, it is okay to feel that way.

We all process grief and emotional distress in our own way. Each way is okay. 

Some of us sit at home or in nature, giving ourselves space and time to just be. Noticing the way the light hits the flowers, or the sun rays glint through the misty trees. The golden warmth of sunrise.

Some of us cosy up in a blanket or duvet – wrapping ourselves up, tight and secure.

Some of us apply for funding and research grants to help us stay afloat.

Some of us ask for help.

Some of us set and maintain boundaries with family, work, friends and technology for our wellbeing. 

Some of us bawl our eyes out.

Some of us sit in silence and feel numb. Feel unable to speak. Unable to do anything.

Some of us intentionally search for and hold onto reminders of hope and joy. 

Some of us intentionally do things that we can control, while making pockets in the day to process our emotions.

Some of us put projects on pause or take a step back from some of our regular commitments so that we can cope.

Some of us make self-care and community-care checklists.

Some of us tell the world on Twitter; some hide their stress away.

Some of us are connecting deeply with our spirituality.

Some of us shy away or change the way we connect with our spirituality. 

Some of us start an “Operation Biggest Dream Clean of your life.”

Some of us learn a new skill for crafting and creating.

Some of us write, paint, draw, sing, improvise, or dance out emotions.

Some of us watch and sing along to Disney movies.

Some of us seek connection with things that empower us.

Some of us listen to music that helps us to be with our emotions.

Some of us speak to our loved ones in the sky, sharing what we wish we had told them in person.

Some of us do soothing activities to intentionally calm our spirits. 

Some of us stroke a beloved pet. 

Some of us hurl rocks at the ocean or the ground.

Some of us listen to old voicemails and read old texts/messages.

Some of us do distracting activities that allow us to focus constructively.

Some of us take a visualized holiday to somewhere beautiful in your mind. 

Some of us look within our experience for something that we can take to improve our futures.

Some of us walk with our housemates and embrace a few moments of mindfulness. 

Some of us hold house meetings to discuss, be vulnerable, and share ways that we can support each other for our collective wellbeing.

 

This is not an exhaustive list. Please take time to do what you need and want to do to process your grief so that you’re ready to move forward. We are having a hard time and we are building resilience right now. We are all in this together. We are all worthy of time to heal. We are all worthy of care. We are all worthy of brighter futures.

Do you have a coping strategy that you would like to share with the world? Add it to the comments below.

Lots of love to everyone out there. 

Sunrise coming up behind Mt. Baker. Lots of golden orange, yellow, and rosy tones. The landforms are different shades of blue.

The poem at the top is dedicated to the memory of Julian Marshall. He was a person who created a space of calmness for those around him, who made people feel welcome as they are, who made people laugh and brought kindness, laughter, comfort and joy to people’s lives. Julian recently died after experiencing an accidental overdose. He will be missed. If you want to give in Julian’s memory, a fund has been established to support his brother, who is having a hard time with substance use, access the recovery services he needs. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/remembering-julian-marshall

 

 

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