Tag Archives: Hugs

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Why Are People Avoiding Me?

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Has someone close to you died and you wondered why everyone seems to be avoiding you? I have. At first you don’t notice it as much because you are in a daze. But once you emerge from the fog, you realize no one seems to be around. It’s like everyone disappeared to the four corners of the earth. Anywhere so they wouldn’t have to run into you. Or at least that is how it seems. Don Miguel Ruiz teaches in The Four Agreements “Don’t take anything personally.” Easier said than done when you are looking for support and all you can hear are crickets. You start to wonder what you might have said. You start wonder what you might have done. Why is this happening?

IT’S NOT YOU

Most likely people aren’t avoiding you, they are avoiding grief. Historically society has treated grief and loss as tabu topics. People avoid you because they have their own issues with grief. Maybe seeing your grief reminds them of their own. Maybe being reminded of their own grief brings them pain. Feeling their own pain may force them to do something. Doing something is way too hard. Avoiding it becomes second nature. But over time unresolved grief can become a ticking time bomb. A person begins to feel like they are going to explode. Avoiding you keeps them away from a path they don’t want to take. It becomes their primary focus.

Another reason people avoid grief is because they haven’t really been taught the right things to say. Not knowing what to say makes us uncomfortable. Avoiding  uncomfortable feelings seems easier. If they are “unlucky” enough to run into you, they say things like “They are in a better place” or “You’ll feel better soon.” Not helpful statements to a griever but it’s what they have been taught. Eventually they convince themselves staying far away from anyone grieving is the best solution. Once again it becomes about them and not about you.

Grief Reiki LLC

SO WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY?

Face your own grief. You can’t be there for someone else who is grieving if you have your own issues with grief. This is especially true for parents of children who are grieving. If you address your own grief first, you are better equipped to help your children get through theirs. Begin to understand why you haven’t dealt with your grief. What can you do to address it? The Grief Recovery Method offers a structured action plan to help you do just that.

Be honest with a griever.  Instead of avoiding  griever, all you have to do is say “I just don’t know what to say.” An honest answer is better than crickets. Offering a hug without any words is even better. A hug can say it all. It makes a griever feel safe and not alone. Grief tends to do that to people. Makes them feel isolated. Avoiding them only makes it worse. As humans we need human-to-human body contact. In fact according to social worker Virginia Satir, we need at least 4 hugs a day to survive.

So the next time you know someone who is grieving, don’t avoid them. Offer them a hug. No words. Just a hug. It can change their world.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Weighted Blanket

Can a Weighted Blanket Help with Grief?

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Self-care is one of the most important aspects of grieving. Unfortunately, this is the last thing you may think about doing. If you are like me, you may end up putting your own self-care on hold because grief has made you physically exhausted. In fact, grief is what is draining your energy. Being physically drained puts you at risk of becoming sick or being involved in an accident. When you are physically healthy, you are better able to deal with the emotions associated with grief. This is why it is important to practice self-care as much as possible to remain healthy. One of the ways to do this is to find “tools” that work best for you. One of those tools might be the use of “weighted blankets” especially if you are feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping.

Before we discuss what they are, let’s talk about the reasons behind why you might consider using one.

RESPONSES TO GRIEF

Fear is one of the most normal emotional responses to loss. The fear of the unknown, the fear of the unfamiliar, and the fear of adapting to a dramatic change in all of our habits, behaviors, and feelings. In A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis wrote, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” Fear is a very real part of grief. Fear can make it overwhelming to the point of paralyzing you. Holding on to fear when you are grieving can actually have a snowball effect. You may begin associate fear with the death of your loved one. You may begin to associate fear with your own health, especially if your loved one died from a chronic illness. Eventually this thinking creates an avalanche of fear-based thoughts, which can overtake and overwhelm you. This can lead to feelings of anxiety.

When you are grieving, you can also feel like the future is out of control. For those of you who like to think you have control of your life, experiencing a loss makes you realize you don’t. Not at all. Not one bit. Things can change in an instant. Nothing may ever be the same. You jump on the worry bus, and the wheels go round and round until you can’t get off. You don’t eat. You don’t sleep. You see only one narrow perspective. Then your worry creates fear and anger. It becomes a vicious cycle. Worrying just leads you to no man’s land and can lead to feelings of anxiety.

Sleep can also be a huge issue when you are grieving. For me, it was insomnia or lack of sleep; you, on the other hand, may just want to put the covers over your head and sleep for as long as you can. Either way is not good. I found I wasn’t sleeping much at all in those first few weeks after my loved one’s death. Everything went out the window when grief came calling. I yearned for a good night’s sleep.

WEIGHTED BLANKETS

So what is a “weighted blanket” anyway? Weighted blankets are not like the kinds of blankets we usually use. They typically weigh anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds, making them heavier than the average comforter or down quilt.  A weighted blanket provides pressure and sensory input. This simulates being hugged. As we already know, hugs are one of the greatest forms of healing. They are a natural way of reducing stress.

HOW THEY HELP

Some research has shown that weighted blankets can be very soothing if you are experiencing anxiety or insomnia. Weighted blankets are heavier than normal, and may give the sensation of being hugged. In turn, this stimulates serotonin production, which naturally converts to melatonin and provides a sense of calmness. This is especially important when you are trying to fall asleep.

Weighted blankets also reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is produced when your brain elicits the “fight or flight response.” This often happens to someone who is grieving. Reducing the levels of cortisol helps you to feel less anxious. This is why weighted blankets are often used for people with autism or Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

One study where the participants used a 30 lb weighted blanket, revealed that 63% reported lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality.

Weighted blankets may provide a safe alternative to medication or other types of treatment. They can also be used to complement existing therapies and help manage anxiety and insomnia. In fact,  they are covered by some insurance plans, provided you have a prescription from your Doctor.

HOW TO BUY

Weighted blankets can be bought from a variety of manufacturers. Your own weight helps you determine the right weight of a blanket. Some manufacturers recommend that adults buy a blanket that’s 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. Your Doctor or an Occupational Therapist can also help you to decide which weight blanket will be the most comfortable and efficient for you.

Also consider choosing a blanket that’s made from 100% cotton. Polyester and other synthetic fabrics are typically much hotter. Doesn’t work well if you are going through menopause or have circulation issues.

Here are a few of the weighted blanket manufacturers (I am not a paid affiliate):

Gravity Weighted Blankets (Kickstarter)

Mosaic Weighted Blankets 

Sensacalm

Sensory Goods

The Magic Weighted Blanket

The Weighted Blanket CompanyWeighted Blankets on Etsy

SEW YOUR OWN

Of course if you are into sewing or quilting, you can also make your own weighted blanket for a fraction of the cost.

Here is a great Hallmark Channel video explaining what you would do:

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

 


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power of love radio show

Power of Love Radio Show (9/7/16)

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For a second time, I was very honored and privileged to have been invited by the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation (DDJF) to appear on their Power of Love Radio Show to talk about grief and loss. The Power of Love Radio Show, broadcast on LA Talk Radio, shines a light on loss and grief and how it impacts our lives. It provides hope, resources and a community so no one feels alone in their grief.

Listen to the 9/7/16 broadcast archive here.

The Grief Recovery Method

The Grief Recovery Method® is an action program to move beyond death, divorce and other losses.  It was founded almost 30 years ago by John James and Russell Friedman. Grief Reiki, LLC leverages material developed by The Grief Institute®, which provides training coast-to-coast, border-to-border in the United States and Canada with affiliates in Australia, Mexico, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Some the things we spoke on the show about included what you can say to someone who is grieving:

“I can’t imagine how heartbreaking this must be for you.” – Grief is about a broken heart. How do you even begin to understand how that feels for your friend? This statement indicates that you respect how sad and difficult their grief must be for them.

“I really don’t know what to say.” – Words can’t even describe the feelings associated with grief. Saying you “don’t know what to say” is one of the most honest answers you can give. This way your friend knows you are not trying to judge, analyze or fix them.

“I am so sorry for your loss.” – Sorry in this sense means to be sad or mournful. It reminds your friend that you are also sad for their loss. It’s another way of answering them honestly. 

“Can I give you a hug?” – Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, said “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” Hugs reduce the amount of stress in our bodies. Grieving is one of the most stressful events in our lives. Offering a hug (or two) to your friend will be good for their emotional, physical and spiritual health.

“What happened?” – Grievers need and want tell their story. They want you to hear and understand to what they have to say about their loved one. Don’t avoid talking about them. The most loving thing you can do for your friend is to listen without judgement. Be a “heart with ears.”

Henri’s Personal Journey

The producer of the Power of Love Radio Show, Henri Hebert, talked about her own grief journey. She is currently going through the 7-week one-on-one Grief Recovery Method® educational program. She spoke about some of the things she had already learned in just two weeks of attending the class.  Things she now realizes had affected her over the last five years like moving, changing jobs, going through a romantic break-up and losing her best friend to brain cancer. Henri will be sharing more of her journey on future radio shows.

 

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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