A Little Bit of Nature Helps

A Little Bit of Nature Helps

 


 


Neither of us knew how to explain exactly how we felt, but… Last year as summer began to come to an end, the last thing that my husband and I wanted to hear was anything that had to do with going out to “do something.”  As far as we were concerned, we were doing something…something called trying to process what happened and trying to heal.  Was that not enough?  Even after all that we had just been through?  Celebrating, exercising, or vacationing was not something that we were interested in making a priority at the time.
It took us nearly 3 months to feel even the slightest bit comfortable going out to do anything; and once we were finally ready, we decided that a simple hike would be a great way to relive some stress and get our endorphins going again.  That trip turned out to be one of the best decisions that we ever made.
Well, it’s that time of year again, and this week we got the same little “itch” that provoked us last year to get out – not to do anything “fancy” – but to just go somewhere where there was peacefulness. Somewhere where we could just go and reconnect with nature ( and ourselves) and contemplate the meaning of life yet again.
When you are immersed in nature and enjoying all of it’s beauty, it helps you remember that there is still so much outside of ourselves, our jobs, and our homes to be thankful for.  You begin to realize that even through difficult times life is still amazing. Furthermore, it gives a boost to your immune system and the change of scenery can help brighten your outlook and change any negative perspectives that you may be holding. Personally, I don’t think that there is a better natural mood booster than spending time outdoors, getting lots of fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful planet.
Not to get off topic but let me revert back to the issue of celebrating while grieving for a moment…We found ourselves feeling a little guilty for going out after having turned down invitations from a few family and friends. It makes you feel really bad, but in all honesty it was better being truthful about how we felt instead of being more concerned with what everyone would think, only because it would be devastating to attend an event that could likely be a trigger for our grief. More important we would never want to ruin anyone’s celebration with our sadness. It just didn’t seem worth it and we figured that it would be best if we didn’t attend anything until we were completely prepared to be good company. The right time, unfortunately, was not a couple of months after our loss. We were confident that anyone who had invited us to their event during that time would understand…and  gratefully they did.  More often than not your family and friends will understand – especially if they have witnessed your pain.  Just be sure to let them know that you will do your best to join them the next time; and if possible it couldn’t hurt to send a small gift to remind them that you do care about them as well.
The important thing to take away from this is to not focus on what you are not yet able to to do while healing from your loss. It is more helpful to stay focused on what you can do now.  Just do  whatever you can do to motivate yourself to get out and back into your life – enjoying your life, and if you can’t seem to get out at least make sure that you are doing something positive for your mental and physical well-being. Doing something is always better than doing nothing in this case and if you have to take baby steps to get back to your normal self that is completely acceptable. 
Until the next post…

Take care + Be well,
Carol  

Staying Strong After Loss

Staying Strong After Loss

When we experience loss we tend to become internally disoriented. That internal disorientation comes to us in the form of sadness + anger + misery + regret + trepidation + (because we’re often hoping that the person that we lost could come back…) wishfulness.

We’re often affected physically as well, which is where those things like losing your appetite (or having it increase ), being unable to sleep or feel rested, and having an overall sense of discomfort + uneasiness takes over. I’ve learned that these are all normal responses to the process of grieving.

Having to bear the weight of, (what at the time seems like), almost unimaginable tasks such as adjusting to a new relationship with with the person that you have lost + trying to fully understand the loss + trying to develop a whole new way of being in the world after the loss adds to the burden and oftentimes we are not prepared to manage all that has been placed before us.

Yet, finding a way, (or ways), to adjust to our loss can help keep the pain from consuming us.

Learning to adjust is necessary because life is going to keep revolving around you – and if you don’t find a way return to life you are going to have a very hard time with those internal and physical symptoms – making it much more difficult to heal and live your life.

Some of the things that have helped me return to myself include:

• Showing myself a little compassion by resting when I felt as though I needed to…and not feeling guilty about doing so.

• Asking for (or accepting) help from others when I needed it. This helped me feel less overwhelmed, but it also gave others the opportunity to feel good about helping someone through a rough time. It’s so important to not push these “beautiful” people away.

• Trying to laugh again without feeling as though I was dishonoring my lost loved one. Remembering that he wanted (wants) me to be happy. This helped me remember to keep looking for the joy in life and to not take it too seriously…to always remain open.

• Giving my loss meaning by focusing less on the fact that my loved one is no longer here…and more on how he positively impacted my life + that of others + keeping his legacy of loving life alive.

• I am a nature lover so getting out and enjoying the sights + sounds of nature was a given for me while on my healing journey. There are so many lessons in nature that can help with trying to understand + learning to appreciate loss of life. Nature tends to offer a neverending abundance of beautiful comparisons.

This list of mine is not exhaustive and as always we all have different methods that we can apply. These are a few that helped me through the early days when I was days + weeks into my loss. Please feel free to try any of them for yourself and if you do – let me know how it worked for you.

Until the next post…


Take care + Be well ♡

Carol

Shattered

Shattered

It was a very long night. I didn’t sleep at all that night.  It was 6:14 a.m. on that early August morning that I took this photo as I sat in this room staring at the white walls and these deep green seats, waiting for someone to come and tell me that I could smile again.  I kept thinking about how just twelve hours beforehand, my youngest child and I were enjoying one of his favorite meals, while conversating as we got our “little nerd fix while watching the show Battle Bots.  Ten hours beforehand we had, unbeknownst to us, said our last real goodbyes right before I reminded him to drive safely as he opened the front door to leave to meet up with friends out of town.  The moment that I took this photo I had enough hope for the world. However, evidently, some plans are much greater than our own wishes, hopes, dreams, efforts and prayers.

It often begins with shock.  That initial feeling that sends shock waves and copious amounts of cortisol throughout your body, filling every part with enough stress to make your hands shake and your entire body quiver.  Then the numbness seeps in ever so slowly.  So slow, in fact, that you’re barely able to recognize that your body is being possessed by some strange form of extreme sadness; and for a minute you begin to wonder if you’re losing your mind.

You’re in disbelief.  Yet, you somehow know that this may not end well, so you reach deep down inside your heart and gut and pull out as much strength, courage and hope for a happy end result as you possibly can – and even so – you still don’t feel as though that effort will be enough.

Now all that you feel is fear.  You are still numb and outside of yourself, but the hurt that you feel is now becoming so overwhelming and all that your heart and mind are telling you is that you absolutely cannot lose this person.  Suddenly, you start doubting that this is actually happening and hope that you are just having a really terrible dream.  You can’t believe that this is even possible. How can it be possible?  Nothing feels real at the moment.

You can’t seem to stop the tears from falling from your eyes and down your cheeks. Nor can you stop the ache in your chest. You’re antsy and you want to do something to help, but you are told repeatedly that there is nothing else that you can do. That they can do. That anyone can do. That doesn’t stop you though. Each day that you return to this place you keep asking and trying to find solutions. All you know is… this hurt likes like hell.

This was my experience and I cannot speak for all parents who have lost a child, but there is not doubt that when someone you love loses their life, so many feelings and emotions rush through your mind and you have to mourn the loss in order to help you process it.  Mourning is essential to the healing process and there is no time frame that one can be expected to “get over” their loss. That is always personal.  It is as personal as the relationship that you had with the person that you lost.  This is why bereavement healing times tend to vary from person to person. Bereavement should not be rushed.  So, the next time that you encounter someone who is grieving, show a little patience, kindness and be genuinely supportive because that is what is going to help that person overcome their grief in the healthiest way possible.

Until the next post…


Take care + Be well,

Carol

 

Remembering You

Remembering You


“When I speak of you it’s because I need to remember you.  I need to remember how you made us smile, laugh and feel.  The memories are all that I have now, to remind me that the “gift of you” was real.”  – Carol C.M.

 

Gearing up for “D” Fall

Gearing up for “D” Fall

When you can’t get enough sunshine…create your own.

-Carol C.M.

Can you feel it? It’s there in the air. The slightly cooler weather. The change in the way that the sun lights up a room? The yearning for comfort food. The cries for pumpkin spice everything. The Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations inside every store that you set foot in. Wanting to pull the covers up to your chin and press the snooze button on those early chilly mornings before you get out of bed.
Regardless of  whether you call it Autumn or Fall… it’s here. That time of the year that makes us want to hibernate a little bit and spend more time indoors.  As someone who enjoys both the outdoors and warm sunshine on my skin I am going to miss the warmer months and the opportunity to soak up vitamin D naturally.
Spending time in the sun, of course, has its pros and cons.  We want to avoid exposing ourselves to too much sunlight as not to increase our chances of getting skin cancer — even with sunscreen. Yet, with sunlight being a natural and ideal way of getting vitamin D into our bodies to maintain our health, we also want to be able to reap that benefit.
During the spring and summer months our bodies produce vitamin D naturally when we spend at least ten to twenty minutes outside receiving ultraviolet B rays from the sun.  Yet, during the fall and winter months most of us are less likely to be able to so, which means that we are often left to find others ways of ensuring that we are getting enough vitamin D and maintaining our health and nutrition.
We can do this by eating more vitamin D rich foods such as fortified milk, orange juice, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, or fatty-fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines.  For my vegan friends, tofu or fortified plant milks can be good sources of vitamin D. Just be sure to double check your labels.  Furthermore, vitamin D supplements tend to be good options for those who may feel as though they are are not receiving enough vitamin D from their food sources. These are just some of the ways that I manage my vitamin D levels as a flexitarian. As always, it would also be a good idea to check with your physician or nutritionist to determine what your unique vitamin or nutritional needs might be.
I think we all know that vitamin D is important for our bone, nail, hair and teeth health, but did you know that it also plays a role in the human cell life cycle and helps regulate both immune and neuromuscular systems?

Potential Benefits of Vitamin D

  • May aid depression or S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder / Seasonal Depression).
  • May decrease inflammation.
  • May prevent bone loss or bone disease.
  • May provide relief for some chronic conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis.
  • May aid cognitive function.

A few signs of vitamin deficiency include hair loss, muscle pain, having wounds that heal slowly and fatigue. These are symptoms that could also, very easily, be associated with other conditions which is why you should seek professional medical help in the event that you experience any of these symptoms – especially if you are experiencing grief and assuming that your symptoms are solely related to stress from the loss that you have experienced.  Deficiency in this vitamin is common and easy to remedy so don’t be afraid to get any of these symptoms checked out.

 

 


Take care of yourself + Be well,
Carol