Tag Archives: Self-Care

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Grieving Through The Holidays

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The Holidays can be the toughest time of the year for so many. It’s another reminder that the people we loved are no longer around. This could be as a result of a death, break-up, divorce, move or other loss-related event. Instead of crawling up into a ball and hiding under the covers, here are some things you can do:

Don’t isolate yourself – Sometimes the easiest thing to do when we are grieving is hide away somewhere until it goes away. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy. Trying to grieve alone during the Holidays can make it even tougher. Although we don’t have to feel obligated to attend any festivities if we don’t want to, we might consider spending time with a dear friend or family member just so we are not alone.

Talk about your feelings – It’s so easy to just plaster on a fake smile and drag ourselves through Holiday functions. Don’t do it. It you don’t feel like attending the Holiday office party or Aunt Susie’s cookie exchange then don’t do it. Rather than not showing up to these events just let everyone know you are having a tough time, appreciate their offer but will have to decline the invite. Those who love you will understand. You have to do what’s right for you.

Find time to relax  Grieving tends to throw us into a tailspin. The Holidays just add to the craziness. Rather than getting caught up in a hurricane of activities, it’s important to find some time to relax. Take an afternoon nap. Watch a favorite movie. Take a walk. Treat yourself to a spa day. Take a yoga class. Schedule a Reiki session. If we don’t make time to relax we could find ourselves winding ourselves up into a frenzy. This is not good for us spiritually, physically or emotionally.

Spend time in nature – Grief is an energy-depleting emotion. Nature can help to us to replenish our energy. Just taking a walk outside refreshes and rejuvenates us. It doesn’t even have to be a long walk. Go around the block. Look at the beauty in nature around you. Smell a flower. Watch a sunset. Go outside and look at the stars.

Practice self-care – Too many times we put our own self care on hold because we are facing grief. Did you know that grievers have a higher incident of illness and accidents? This is why it is important to try and take care of yourself as much as possible. If you are physically healthy, it makes it easier to deal with your emotions. If you are physically, spiritually and emotionally drained you put yourself at risk of getting sick or being in an accident. Be gentle with yourself during this time.

Create a new tradition – Holidays mark special milestones in a family’s life. Often when someone we love is no longer with us it’s hard to face those Holiday traditions that you shared. If that is tough for you, find a new tradition that you can start to honor your loved one. Go away for the Holidays. Visit a homeless shelter. Visit the cemetery where your loved one is buried. Open presents on a different day. Think about how you will remember the life of your loved one in your family’s history and traditions.

Be honest about how you are doing – Sometimes we do things just because we don’t want to be judged or criticized. If you really don’t want to participate in Holiday work or family events then DON’T.  If it makes you sad to be at Aunt Mary’s this year, then DON’T go. If going to the office Holiday party is the last thing you feel like doing then DON’T.  We don’t want the family or co-workers talking about why we weren’t there. But if we are honest and let them know that you appreciate the invitation but it’s just too tough to face the Holidays this year, they should understand. And if they don’t, too bad. It’s about you right now and what you are going through. It’s not about anyone else or their expectations of what you should be doing.

Ask for help  It is okay to ask for help especially when you are grieving. When things are “normal” we run around like superman and superwoman. We multi-task all day and collapse exhausted in bed at night. But when we are grieving our whole world is turned upside down. We can’t think. We can’t react. We can’t speak. We can’t sleep. Grievers have a higher incident of illness and accidents due to these facts. Trying to do everything yourself is just asking for trouble. Reach out. Even if it is just asking someone to sit with you while you talk or cry. Maybe it’s having a friend drop off dinner on their way home from work because you forgot to go to the grocery store. Maybe it’s asking another parent to take the kids for a few hours so you can actually get some much needed sleep. Asking for help when you are grieving is far better, definitely safer and certainly healthier for you than trying to handle everything yourself!

Share your memories – It is very comforting for a griever to talk about their loved ones and share their stories. Make some time to share these memories with friends or family. Have everyone share a special memory that they may have as well. Bring out those old home movies or photographs. Watch your loved one’s favorite Holiday movie. Cook your loved one’s favorite Holiday meal. There are so many things you can do to keep those memories special.

Take one day at a time  Don’t stress yourself out by thinking too far into the future. Just take it one day at a time. You may not get everything done and that’s okay. Let friends and family know that it’s just too tough this year. And if you chose not to do anything at all then that’s okay too.

Honor your sadness – Society has placed too many unrealistic expectations on grievers. You have to be finished grieving by a certain time. You have to stop being sad by a certain date. You have to be strong so others don’t know how much you are hurting. These are urban legends. They are so very wrong. If you are having a tough time, understand it is normal when you are grieving. Allow yourself to be sad. Don’t hold back those emotions.

Join a support or bereavement group  Because it’s understood how hard the Holidays can be for grievers, many organizations offer support or bereavement groups specifically during this time. Groups are often offered by churches or synagogues, as well as by funeral homes, hospitals or hospices. These groups may help you to feel less isolated during the Holidays. They provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere where you can talk to each other about what you’re experiencing. After all, one of the most important aspects for a griever is the need to be heard and not feel alone.  Bereavement and support groups especially during the Holidays can do just that.

The most important thing is that you do what works best for you. Not Aunt Sally. Not Cousin Fred. But what works for you.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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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.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!



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