Tag Archives: Self-Care

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Feeling Awful

Feeling Awful When Grieving

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Feeling awful when you are grieving is perfectly normal. Since every relationship is unique, how a person grieves is unique to that relationship. If feeling awful is your thing, then you are right on track. Other normal reactions can include everything from feeling numb to wanting to eat everything in sight to not wanting to eat at all.

I remember when my best friend died I felt like I was in a fog for days. I sat at work (I am still not sure how I got there) and just stared at the computer. I couldn’t sleep without thinking about her.  I couldn’t hear a song on the radio without crying. Even worse because she died by suicide, most people avoided me or wouldn’t talk to me at all. This resulting in me putting up walls and isolating myself even more. Eventually I just plastered on my “happy face” and told everyone I was “fine”.


Now that I am a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, I realize my feelings were no different than what most grievers experience. Historically society has told us how we should or shouldn’t be feeling after any loss. It got passed down from generation to generation. As a result, well-meaning friends and relatives say things like “They are in a better place” or “Eat some more ice cream and you’ll feel better” after a death of someone close to you. Maybe some of you have even heard after the break-up of a relationship “We never liked them anyway” or “It’s ok, it just wasn’t meant to be”.

The problem is we are taught to intellectualize grief when really it is really a matter of the heart. Since most people aren’t given the necessary “heart tools” – especially when it comes to loss – they do the best they can by giving us feedback they think our heads will understand.


In addition to our hearts needing tender-loving-care while we are grieving, so do our bodies. A body needs energy to be healthy. Grief is an energy-depleting emotion. If you aren’t replacing and/or balancing its energy you feel awful. For example, after the death of my former finance, my heart physically ached inside my body. It felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. It felt like I was having a heart attack. Maybe in some way – figuratively not literally – I was. My stomach felt like I had swallowed a block of concrete. I had zip, nada, no energy.

Since we have been conditioned not to express our feelings, we bottle them all up inside. We walk around like robots. We hold back the tears. We hide from friends and family. Eventually our bodies can’t take it anymore. We explode inside like metal in a microwave. As a result, it’s not unusual to get sick by not dealing with grief. This outcome is so much worse than just feeling what you were feeling from the beginning.


One suggestion for preventing your grief manifesting in a physical way is to find practices that help you balance the energy in your body – Reiki, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong. After the deaths of both of my friends, I found that Reiki really helped me. It kept me more peaceful and relaxed. Much better for my well-being than eating gallons of ice cream or exploding in a meeting.

The bottom line is to understand and express what you are feeling both emotionally and physically.  It is normal and natural and most importantly – it is just right for you. Be sad. Be numb. Be tired. Communicate how you feel – even if you do feel awful. You heart and your body will thank you.

Grief is one instance where knowing you are feeling awful is actually a good thing.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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Emotional Benefits of Reiki

Emotional Benefits of Reiki When Grieving

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Grief affects us emotionally in many different ways. These effects range from feelings of anger, fear and worry to harboring resentment and blame. As a result, your emotional energy centers can become blocked or unbalanced and you feel completely out sorts. It is difficult to begin your grief journey when you are feeling this way. Reiki has the ability to provide you with emotional benefits during grieving. This happens because Reiki unblocks and balances your emotional centers. After receiving Reiki, you feel more calm and relaxed. This helps you to better handle the emotions associated with your grief.


Following are the emotional benefits of Reiki when you are grieving.

Promotes Feelings of Calmness

Grief can send your world into a tailspin. Reiki helps to promote feelings of calmness by balancing your first chakra which helps you to be more grounded. Being grounded fills you with a sense of stability which leads to feeling emotionally calm.

Relieves Stress by Relaxing the Mind

Grief can overwhelm your mind in many ways. This can include the inability to make decisions, feeling confused or experiencing a sense of numbness. Reiki can relax the mind by unblocking your Third and Fifth Chakras to remove any indecisiveness you may be experiencing. It also minimizes confusion by balancing your sixth chakra. Relaxing the mind helps to relieve any grief-related emotional stress you may be experiencing.

Encourages Emotional Release

If not addressed, grief can build up inside of you sometimes to the point you feel like exploding or imploding. Reiki focuses on your sixth chakra to help you release any emotions you may be holding inside. It also helps your fourth Chakra bring your heart back to a place of love. Emotional release is especially healthy when you are grieving. This will allow you to experience healthy feelings of sadness.

Soothes Emotional Distress

Grieving can often make you feel hopeless and in a state of emotional upheaval. Everything can begin to irritate you. Reiki goes to your fourth Chakra to bring back a sense of hope and balances your Second Chakra to help remove any irritability. Having a sense of peace helps you to get through the emotional fallout associated with grief.

Removes Fear and Negativity

Grieving often brings forward feelings of fear. Many times this is because you have lost your sense of trust. By balancing your Seventh Chakra, Reiki reminds you to trust your inner voice. When you listen to your inner voice, you are less likely to be fearful and more likely to believe your future will turn out okay.

Promotes Creativity

Grief can shut you down. Finding ways to express your emotions, rather than hold them in, helps you to heal. Photography, writing, art, acting and singing are all ways to express your grief. Reiki can keep your fifth chakra in balance so you can use your creativity as a healthy part of your grief journey.

Provides Clarity of Thought

Grief often makes you feel confused and/or lose your concentration. As a result, you may be more prone to an accident when you are grieving. Reiki can remove any blockages in your sixth chakra to provide clarity of thought and improve your ability to concentrate.

Boosts Self-Esteem

You can become your own worst enemy when you are grieving. Feelings of guilt and self-criticism play over and over in your head. You being to lose any confidence you had in yourself as person. In this case, Reiki will focus on your third chakra to boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of confidence. Accepting yourself and what you are going through is healthy when you are grieving.


Excerpt from Grief Reiki – An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss, Chapter 7, Emotional Benefits of Reiki.

Now Available on AmazonKindle and Barnes and Noble.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Why Self-Care Helps 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 getting sick or being 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 so you stay healthy.

Daily Practices

Take caring of yourself isn’t something you do just once in a while. Self-care practices have to occur on a daily basis. The more resilient you are when you are grieving the more you are able to handle its unpredictable ups and downs. The next sections describe some simple daily practices you can do even when you are grieving. These include exercise, healthy eating and the improving sleeping habits .


I am grieving and you want me to exercise? Are you crazy? This is probably the last thing you feel like doing. For some of you, exercising is already part of your daily routine. In fact, some of you may even gravitate to over-exercising to avoid dealing with your feelings. Others of you who usually exercise may stop altogether. Neither approach is good. Somehow you have to find a happy medium to keep some form of exercise in your life. This could mean walking around the block once a day. It could mean taking something less aerobic like a yoga class. Paul Denniston created Grief Yoga[1] which combines many forms of yoga to help release grief. I took one of these classes and found it to be a wonderful way to both exercise and work through my grief.

Bottom line, any form exercise is truly vital for your physical and emotional health. If you incorporate all four forms of exercise into a program you can do consistently, that’s even better. If you can at least attempt to tackle balance and stretching exercises when you are grieving, you can find ways to help your body and your mind begin to heal. Remember, if you are unsure about a particular exercise it’s always good to first talk with your doctor.

Healthy Eating

One of the common responses to grief  is related to changes in your appetite. In some cases, you may feel like eating everything in sight. For example, you may not normally eat sweets but after a loss find yourself heading for a big piece of chocolate cake. In other cases, you may not want to eat at all. For example, the very sight of food makes you feel nauseous. Changes in appetite are very common when you are grieving.

So how can you grieve and still find healthy ways to eat? The best approach is low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. They can soothe you without draining your energy and give you the nutrients you need to boost your immune system. It is important to stay away from fatty foods, refined sugar and caffeinated products. These foods intensify the responses to grief like the inability to sleep or concentrate

Improving Sleeping Habits

Sleep can 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 forever. Obviously either way is not good. When Joy died I was afraid to close my eyes so I wouldn’t imagine how she died. As a result, I found I wasn’t sleeping much at all in those first few weeks. Once I started sending Reiki to myself before I went to bed, I found I could at least get a few hours of sleep. Not sure why I didn’t start self-Reiki right after Joy’s death instead of waiting. Must have been the effects of dealing with the shock of her death. Everything went out the window when grief came calling. If you can’t sleep when you are grieving, one of the other things you can do for yourself is to rest. I know that sounds easier said than done. If you are like me, you can’t even sleep or think about sleeping. But resting doesn’t have to be done for long periods of time. Sometimes just taking a 5 to 10-minute cat nap can leave you feeling refreshed. If you can’t take a cat nap, just closing your eyes for a few minutes can help you to feel better.

As Mandy Hale says “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”

[1] griefyoga.com


Excerpt from Grief Reiki – An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss, Chapter 9, Self-Care.

Now Available on AmazonKindle and Barnes and Noble.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!



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