With Mother’s and Father’s Day around the corner, try these healthy steps to cope with the loss of a parent.
By Ricki Friedman
When it comes to grief and loss, certain moments, days and events seem to weigh on us more than others, especially the first few times we go through them. With Mother’s and Father’s Day around the corner, a lot of people, young and old, will be celebrating this day without a parent or maybe even parents.
Losing my mother when I was 13 made for a lot of challenging holidays, which eventually forced me to learn the right ways to cope. Creating healthy and straightforward ways to deal with the loss turned out to be my most significant gain.
Here are some ways I learned to deal with loss.
Create A Simple Mantra
Having a quick but inspiring saying you can write somewhere or speak out loud will help you take a step back for a moment. Repeat it as much as you need. The more you say it, the more you’ll begin to believe in it.
Three examples are:
• “My pain is my greatest gift.”
• “Life is happening for me, not to me.”
• “This wouldn’t be happening if I couldn’t handle it.”
Move Your Body Daily
We hold emotions in our body, which means that to release our feelings, we must move physically. Movement is key when it comes to the decrease of depression and anxiety. The healthier your state of mind, the better you’re able to deal with certain emotions.
Three suggestions are:
• Take a 10-minute walk when you wake up or start to feel sad.
• Stretch it out for five minutes in moments of distress.
• Get a 20-minute sweat in! Sweating is the fastest way to find release.
Be Open and Honest About How You Feel
Grief can feel repetitive, but truth is, grief is repetitive, especially the first year or two, and that’s OK. Remember, feeling the emotions is how you heal from them. You can do this through social media, friends, family, etc.
Three suggestions are:
• Call friends or family. Tell them you’re not looking for advice but rather an ear to listen. Text someone you confide in or who has been through something similar.
• Share an Instagram or Facebook post about your loved one or how you’re doing. You will feel less alone just by knowing how much others can relate.
• Write out how you feel. The simple act of putting pen to paper helps us see that our feelings are not as scary as we think they are.
Community and Connection Are Key
When a person leaves, in any capacity, it feels like we have a lot more time on our hands, which is true, so it’s essential to have things planned out and people to see.
• Schedule one or two things every day in advance. Don’t enter the holiday (or any situation/day) with nothing planned. Say yes, even when you’d rather be alone.
• Volunteer! Nothing heals us more than giving back to others. It doesn’t need to be the whole day but giving back for a few hours is good for the soul, especially when it’s in pain.
It’s not easy to miss someone you love, but it’s important to remember that how you feel right now will not be the way you think or feel forever. Use your positive coping skills and always believe that life is happening for you, not to you. You’re stronger than you could ever imagine.
Ricki Friedman, 31, of Detroit is a life coach, motivational speaker and owner/founder of BREAK the Weight, a company that helps people “break” through the heaviness in their lives — physically, mentally and emotionally. She created a simple way for people to change their lifestyle through the BREAKER program by teaching individuals how to implement positive, easy and sustainable ways to build happier and healthier lives. In addition to building a company and coaching, she is a professional speaker who talks to groups of all ages, teaching people to step into their strength and happiness one positive coping skill at a time.