When grief and loss feel overwhelming, calm can be a comfort
It seems every day we wake up to more horrific news. Whether it’s a worldwide pandemic or a war creating the loss of life, jobs, education, and normalcy, to tragedies from gun violence, to threats on women’s rights, to this country’s epidemic of mental health issues, how do we handle our grief and keep acting “normal?”
Even if we weren’t directly affected by any of these, witnessing the pain and grief of families and friends mixed with the fear we have for our own children’s safety and future cannot help but break our hearts into a million pieces.
I’d say, “In times like these,” but I don’t think we’ve ever seen “times like these” before. Many of us feel helpless as we don’t have the answers on how to fix the deep-rooted issues this country faces on top of systemic global issues. This can make us all feel out of control of our futures, causing enormous amounts of anxiety and stress. The opposite of calm.
As you know, I’ve practiced flexing my “Calm Muscle” for years, and frankly I’m pretty damn good at it. But never before has my calm been tested this much.
So here, I want to share how I’m navigating my sadness and grief to remain present and calm for my kids, family, community and myself.
How to stay calm when overcome with sadness and grief
- Take a deep breath and remember: You are here. Your family, friends and community are here. There is a future. You will be part of it. Repeat this to yourself. Even if you don’t feel okay now, statistically speaking, you will be okay.
- Take action toward the world you want to create. Don’t let fear dictate a reaction of hiding or living in fear. Write and call policymakers and Congress persons and demand they hear you. Taking action when you feel anxious fosters calm because you feel you’re doing something – anything – toward righting the problem. Further, connect with your community by writing to those most impacted by these problems, such as your school principal and teachers. Ask how they’re doing and how you can support them.
- Plan time with the people and activities that fill your spirit. Spending time doing what makes you feel whole and good will recharge your battery and help you process, heal and tap into your calm.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with someone trusted, or on paper. Your feelings are real and valid. Processing grief is an important part of staying calm. Acknowledge your emotions. Let them have life. Allow them to move through you, then let them move on. Letting go of negative thoughts and feelings doesn’t mean the fear goes away, but it’s protection so they don’t consume your body and your mind and negatively impact how you show up for life.
While it seems impossible to go about life as if nothing happened, we can acknowledge, hold space for, and feel our feelings. We can also continue to be present, using calm as a tool.
More tips on accessing your calm are here, in Calm is My Religion. Please reach out to me if you need extra support during this time. Let’s get through this together.
Reach out, I’m here for you.