Winter tips for when you're grieving during the holidays
Thanks for joining me. On today's podcast, we're going to be talking about grief and “good enough.” I have two small actionable tips, ideas, suggestions… call them what you will ...
They are tools that I use frequently... And most especially during the holiday season.
What are they for?
It's a way of gauging what's going on inside without having a long, long period of time going through lots and lots of feelings without having an end result in mind. So this is a way to take sort of an inner gauge, help you through the holidays to help you decide whether or not you're really actually interested in going through maybe a holiday gathering or call whether or not you could be doing something else. I'll also have a couple of ideas, um, or maybe just one big one about, uh, what to do when you find yourself just staring out the window. And when we're in grief, oftentimes we time gets real different emotions, get real different, and there may be some numbness that goes on. I have some, idea on how to reframe exactly what that is.
And so stay tuned for that. I'm so glad you're here.
Let's get started
For the next couple of weeks. We at this time of recording are in a space of between the Thanksgiving holiday and the United States and the onslaught of the winter holiday season, uh, which kind of started in Halloween time. So it's not fair, but it is what's happening. And, uh, it's also a particularly tough year, 2020.
So the next few podcasts that we share together, the time we share together is really gonna be about small things, reminders, tasks, ideas, suggestions, and they're going to be presented in a way that is number one, gentle number two, maybe a little bit humorous and number three, practical and actionable as in instantly actionable without it being a big, scary, potential inner journey. Okay. So these for today, when I want to talk about are a couple of ways of checking in.
Now, if you're a person who is suffering from grief, um, either due to loss of a loved one due to death or a loss of health, perhaps, maybe even loss of a pet, perhaps you've experienced loss of a job, perhaps you have multiple losses, like most of us in the world and the grief, well, it seems to be hanging around.
You feel like your inner capacity is being taken up by all these things that have happened, that you don't know how to deal with.
Number one, you're right... that emotional pain does sort of stay with us because we either replay what happened, what it was that happened. Plus, we don't know how to process it.
Not to worry what I have is a method (The Grief Recovery Method), but I also have a couple of suggestions for what to do if you haven't learned the method... yet.
So this is going to be a good thing for everybody. These are suggestions that I try to remember myself and practice. Here's what they are. If you're scared of checking in, because you're not sure how you're going to feel, and you don't know, you don't know what to do, but you just don't want to feel this bad, or the heaviness, or a blues season.
Does it feel like it's getting bluer and bluer? Maybe you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? These kinds of things.
Tip 1: Identify where can you lower the bar
One thing that I would ask you to ask yourself is, “Hey, where can I lower the bar?”
In our society, we are kind of cattle prodded into always being on the lookout for being the best; being the most excellent; the most. For everything to be either “massive” or “epic”.
There are a couple of the words that I really don't enjoy in marketing and they are “massive”, and the other one is “epic.”
So what if for some things like if you find that you're just constantly reminding yourself to be the best live your best life, make it appear to be THE most amazing best Christmas ever. These kinds of things. That's a lot of pressure. And, you know, I would suggest that maybe lowering the bar on expert expectations might be something to consider.
How do I do that?
How do I do that? If I'm always rooting for kind of the A+ in my mind, what would a B- look like, just for today?
What would it look like to be slightly above average?
Heck, average is not bad when it comes to things like taking a shower, brushing your teeth well, checking in with a friend... it doesn't have to be the most epic, the most amazing, the most everything.
And for me, when I am feeling the pressure to be all the things and do all the things in a way that looks really great and leaves me feeling empty, I need to look at where I can... just for myself... lower the bar.
So, shooting for a B minus might actually be more sustainable in the long run when it comes to a couple of things that you may or may not have on your list.
Do you have to have the most amazing napkins and napkin folding ever for this year’s Zoom, holiday gathering?
Maybe not. Maybe not.
I'm asking since I don't know. But this is something that I use. Like, how can I shoot for a B minus that feels good around this aspect? Or task. I'm not saying for your whole life, I'm saying for today for right now. And especially when you're feeling a lot of pressure… or, maybe some overwhelm, maybe some anxiety and you're judging yourself. Cause that's, that's so inspiring and motivating in a gentle way... Not at all.
So that's one way of sort of checking in and asking like, Hey, I'm feeling a lot of pressure. Where can I shoot for a B-? I'm not gonna say things like “lighten up” or “relax” or things like that, because that just really makes me feel like I can't do it.
And it makes the veins in my forehead pop out from tension and increased...irritation.
So where can I shoot for a B minus? And maybe even just asking the question will feel a little bit better for you inside. It does sometimes for me, sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes it does, but it's a gentle enough question. It's a fast enough question.
It's just another tool that you can pick up and say, Hey, where's my B- or some really hard days. How about a D+? D+ is still a total pass. Give yourself a lot of generous room around what that D+ could look like.
And if you can play with it all the better.
If you can laugh at it all the better. It's about feeling better and not about doing more, especially in, you know, an already kind of loaded season when it comes to retail, family, past experience, and maybe the year that we've all been trying to sort of wrap our heads around and our hearts around.
Okay, are you ready for the next one?
What’s your percent?
Here it is. And this is one that my partner and I practice when we can't decide what it is that we really want to or need to be doing next. She came up with it or she passed it onto me. So all credit goes to Jennifer, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
And I love it when we played this game, it's called “What's your emotional inner percent?”
So let me give you an example:
Let's say that we're in a time of holiday and somebody invites us to a Zoom happy hour and the person is not very close, even like just kind of a passing acquaintance who's looking to load their Zoom room. They do exist. These people do exist.
And Jennifer and I will sort of look at each other if we're kind of stumped and like ask “what's your percent?” like how much are you wanting or feeling like doing this thing?
And it could be going to the hardware store. It could be going into the grocery store. It could be going to a Zoom happy hour or another Zoom meeting.
You don't have to have a person to play with (either). You can also ask yourself, “What's my percent?”
And the key here, if you can, is to not to think about it too hard. So usually how we play it is if it (both of our numbers) adds up to a hundred (as in, 100%), we may talk about what that would look like to go ahead.
And so, if I'm at 8% and she's at 41%, then that's 49%... and we’re probably not going... we're just not into it.
But that's a way of sort of checking in below your neck without thinking about what you should be doing, what you need to be doing, all these sorts of things to discover the “how do I do that?” in terms of checking in, identifying, assessing… especially if you’re grieving or feeling off.
A small practice, step by step
And that's kind of on a project by project or a task by task basis, really relying on something inside of you to let you know how interested you are in moving forward with a partner, going out, staying in… try conducting this test (or you could call it “playing this little game,” too).
When you can’t figure it out
So these can be used all year round, but these are also really important reminders and tools that you can pick up during the holiday when you don't feel like you don't feel really like you're equipped to make decisions.
When we're in grief and we're suffering from loss, our focus and attention is already hampered. It's impaired. This is the nature of it. If you're, you know, suffering from grief and really in it, you may just find yourself staring out a window and not knowing why that is when you have “all these other things to be doing.”
Here's my extra little bonus for today.
It could be that staring out that window is the best thing you could be doing to sort of just give yourself a break.
So if you find yourself staring out the window or you're just staring at the TV without really watching it, you're reading the same paragraph over and over that you're not really comprehending in a book or in anything else that you might be reading...
It's okay, this is normal and natural in grief. And again, nobody needs to have died or passed away in order for you to be experiencing a feeling of loss. Heartbreak is it's a thing that we don't talk about very much in society... but we do talk about it here.
So I'm going to invite you back for the next podcast episode or to go ahead and review some of the other ones if you haven't heard those already, you're always invited.
And if you're ready to do something different, so you get a different result, so you feel different, then ask me about working one-to-one through the steps of the Grief Recovery Method.
I’m thinking of you. And I'll be back with more suggestions and ideas and tools for you to put in your emotional heart healing, toolbox.
Wendy Sloneker, Heart Healing from Loss. So glad you joined me today on this short little podcast, and I'm looking forward to the next. Here we go.