“Gratitude soothes and heals the soul.”
Some days won’t be as good as others, but there will always be something good in each day. The key is to keep looking up!
Until the next post…
Blessings, love and light,
One of the things that happens to the bereaved right after losing someone is that we tend to seek out things that will help us fill our recent void. Our bodies begin to crave more rest, and a host of other things – one being great tasting foods. Grief often tends to cause our appetites to change; and while some will experience a loss of appetite, others may experience an increase in appetite as the need to gravitate towards foods that elicit a dopamine release from the brain cause us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and completely comforted. This is all due to the stress that comes with grief, and just as with any other form of stress we may know of our own “go-to” foods that we find personally healing. In fact we can all probably conjure in our minds right this very moment, (I am sure), a dish or recipe that we know has the power to make us instantly happier at any given moment. For me it’s my Mom’s curried chicken recipe or just about anything with, garbanzo beans, dark leafy greens, avocado or Italian. Those foods always go straight to my soul and make everything better.
But, back to how grief either increases or decreases our appetite. In the days weeks and first few months after losing my son, I lost my appetite which resulted in my losing 12 lbs. Food was the farthest thing from my mind and I remember every time that I did eat, regardless of whether or not it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, I felt as though I was forcing myself to eat. I was forcing myself to eat, because I knew that eating something was the only way that I was going to have any energy to keep running back and forth to the hospital, plan a funeral service and take care of all of the lose ends and important tasks that must be taken care of after someone passes away.
Even though my appetite was not there I knew that I had to eat in order to stay somewhat healthy. Sadly, though, I found myself in a bit of a fast food whirlwind grabbing unhealthy, easy, non-nutritious foods to sustain myself which as you probably already guessed, left me feeling even more depleted.
Something had to change and I needed to find a way to get back to normalcy and start eating healthy again. So, I began by gradually increasing the days that I would cook healthy meals at home instead of eating out or grabbing fast food. Starting with two days a week at first, and eventually leading to making healthy home cooked meals 6 days a week – it took me 4 months to return to my usual healthy eating schedule.
One thing that made it easy to do was to cook in bulk so that we would have leftovers available, (either from the previous day or frozen), if something came up and I was unable to cook one day. Another trick that I used was to pre-make healthy juices, smoothies, vegetable and fruit plates, soups and salads and I kept them at hand so they were easy to grab from the refrigerator for a quick snack or lunch.
It is not uncommon for the grieved to receive food from friends and family after the funeral has passed, and this practice can be such a wonderful blessing when you are too emotionally and physically and weary to cook anything. I can’t stress enough how much helping the grieved in this way can mean the world anyone who has just lost someone. However, that is not something that we can rely on for the long haul.
Therefore, having and idea of how to implement a healthy meal plan and and what to include can be invaluable not just to the bereaved while adjusting to a new way of being, but it could also be helpful to anyone who might be feeling overworked, over stressed, just plain tired or for any reason.
During the spring and summer months we will usually feel satiated after eating just about anything light, but for a lot of people there is something about fall and winter that moves us toward craving comfort foods such as stews, hearty soups and casseroles. There is something about the cooler months that have us reaching for foods that warm our bodies as well as our hearts. The good thing is this, we don’t always have to abstain from enjoying those delicious comfort foods.
For example, one way to still eat them and avoid adding extra pounds, or eating unhealthy, is to change a recipe so that it becomes healthier, but still tastes great. This is what I did with my lasagne recipe when I stopped making it with meat and all of the extra, delicious, but unnecessary cheese. It is absolutely scrumptious! I will post a recipe for that lasagne this week in what will be Salubrity and Soul’s new recipe section, and it will also be posted on the Salubrity and Soul Instagram account.
If you have found yourself in the same unhealthy conundrum and feel the need to eat healthier after loss or just prefer eating a decent home meal try:
As you can see, there are several things that you can do to help ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible while dealing with loss, and I will have more tips and tricks for maintain your health while grieving in the coming weeks.
Until the next post,
Take care + be well,
Happy Holidays to you and yours! It has been several days since my last post. I decided to ring in the holidays on a much needed easy note, placing a majority of my focus and attention on maintaining holiday family rituals, creating new ones, spending time with my husband, my two remaining adult children, my precious grand kids and completing a Christmas donation project in honor of my “angel son”.
The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic, but I have learned to balance the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with equal amounts of “me time” as a way allowing myself to still enjoy the holiday season while also ensuring that I take care of myself first; so that I can also still be there for my family to celebrate the season with a joyful spirit.
This is the second holiday season without my youngest child and one of my greatest lessons of this past year has been learning to push past my feelings of hurt and remaining grateful for all that I still have in my life. With grief it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of “loss”, which in most cases is inevitable and completely understandable. However, that is not a place to reside. Practicing gratitude has helped me remember all of good that I have in my life despite also having to live through the bad.
Luckily for me, I began my gratitude practice prior to my son’s death, and that is what I turned to and leaned on immediately after his death. I have to be completely honest though – there were many days where I felt as though there was nothing to be grateful for. Those days happen, but the funniest thing took place when I realized that those days occur. I learned to be grateful for those days. I learned to appreciate that reality, and doing so helped me heal and get through some of the most discouraging days I have ever encountered.
I know it might seem strange to be grateful for “not being able to find anything to be grateful for”, but what not having anything to be grateful for did for me was to allow me to be thankful for my bad days, my disadvantages, my sadness, and believe it or not – my grief. Yes, all of those uninspiring and less than perfect things were suddenly something to appreciate, because they helped to remind me that those things helped to make me a stronger and more resilient person. Furthermore, every time that I expressed gratitude for those things it made me appreciate the good in my life more. In a strange sort of way it made me see that everything in my life and everything that I experience is something to be grateful for because it either added something positive to my life, or allowed me to experience or (better yet) learn something new. Either way it is growth. Either way it is life. Either way it is beautiful.
The truth is – I may still wake up one day and feel out of sorts, but it’s okay. I still have a beautiful family. My “angel son” is still my son, I still have an abundance of wonderful family memories, I still have amazing supportive family and friends, I still live on a great big beautiful planet where seasons change and where I can enjoy nature and the outdoors. I am grateful for my followers and that you have taken the time to read my posts. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow you, learn more about you and read the posts that you have shared with me.
I’d like to close by saying that I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and regardless of whether or not you have lost someone, my hope is that you were able to share beautiful moments with loved ones – moments that created memories to last a lifetime. The month of November is nearing its end, but our expressions of gratitude don’t have to. Let’s all try to remain grateful for what we have in our lives regularly and throughout the year. We all have so much to be thankful for – even when things might not seem to be so great. We just have to open our hearts, minds and eyes to see and appreciate all that surrounds us. Blessings to you all! xo
Until the next post…
Take care + Be well
“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.” – Anthon St. Maarten [Divine Living: The Essential Guide to Your True Destiny]
There is so much going on in the world right now, and I have been thinking a lot about the energy surrounding our environments, and the collective effects of indisputable or obvious negativity and toxicity.
The dictionary states that the word positive means: 1. Something positive. 2. the state or character of being positive; a positivity that accepts the world as it is. While it’s opposite, [the word] negativity means: 1. the expression of criticism. 2. pessimism about something, failing to see the good and concerning oneself with bad outcomes, or expressing hopelessness.
The word toxicity; however, can lead one to conjure feelings of impending doom. It is a word that makes me think of something that could take over my mind and body and render me completely helpless. It is a word that signifies and embodies danger and the probability of eventual demise.
“Negative means separating energies, while positive means unifying energies. It’s not about being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – energy is quite neutral, actually…one just feels better. Simply imagine that being negative creates distance between the hearts of two people, while being positive brings them closer together. – Alaric Hutchinson [Living Peace: Essential Teaching for Enriching Life]
One thing that has captured my attention is how, in recent times, it has become acceptable to correlate anguish and sadness with negativity and toxicity. Why have these emotions become a part of a majority opinion that imply anguish and sadness are harmful and pestilential, when they are more likely to denote the presence of a tender soul experiencing a delicate and temporary situation.
Should we place feelings such as anguish or sadness in the same category as hatred, envy, gossip bullying or something much more defective and personally damaging like narcissism – all of which are clearly harmful, toxic and negative behaviors that can be hard to avoid in today’s social “climate?”
Every despairing situation is not a sign of negativity or toxic behavior, and our propensity to hold that belief can be toxic and harmful in itself. If we become desensitized to recognizing pain in others we are open to losing our humanity; and if we lose our empathy we are open to no longer care about others. What connects us to others is being able to empathize with them. Is that something that we are willing to lose?
“Even when something is not your fault, toxic blame has no place in your life. Focus on your own empowerment and healing.” – Bryant McGill [Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living your Best Life]
It is natural for us to try to avoid pain and sadness, but is that realistic? What if those feelings and emotions are a part of your life path, your soul work, your life transformation? If it is, should that process of growth be interrupted? Wouldn’t it wonderful to watch the whole intricate process unfold, and witness the unabashed life affirming growth manifest?
We are all flowers pushing our way through concrete, and lotuses growing through mud. That is the [hidden] beauty of our being. It is the growth and experience that make everything worthwhile and what gives everything meaning. Trying to navigate through rough times is by no means as negative or toxic as causing others harm, or trying to affect anyone negatively some way – and that is the truth.
Until the next post,
Take care +be well,
Can you imagine,
waking up to the light of day
and feeling as though you have nothing to say?
Can you imagine,
walking past the same room
that you’ve passed every day,
that room that you’d stop by
for a while just to say “hey!” ?
Can you imagine,
looking inside that now empty room
as you struggle to accept that everything has changed?
Can you imagine,
each morning – whispering “hello”
to a part of you, a remnant,
who was called to go
far away to another space
where serving a higher purpose
could now take place?
Can you imagine,
for a minute, closing your eyes
to once again see
that smile that would bring comfort
and make joy materialize?
Can you imagine,
the numbness felt each night
as you pass that room again
and once more recall
that nothing is “right”?
Can you imagine,
having the worst happen to you,
yet you still feel grace
because your faith is true?
Can you imagine feeling grateful,
because you raised someone special
and that love for your child is eternal
and what helps get you through?
Can you imagine?
By Carol C.M.