What Has Helped Me Through Grief

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

When I am feeling lost, here are the things I do to help me reconnect myself and feel grounded.


Life is full of uncertainty. We as humans like to take control of our lives and want things to work out a certain way. The unexpected will always happen, and sometimes so severely it feels like our world is spinning backward. In times of pain and grief, the best we can do is be patient with ourselves. You should not rush yourself through your process. However, sometimes we need guidance or things to do to help us heal. I am the type of person that when I sit in one place for too long, I panic. Finding little things that can keep me busy but also benefit me has truly helped a ton. Here are a few things I have picked up over the years to help me through hard times.


1. Meditation

I know, you're probably like "oh great this is one of those posts". Whenever I was having a panic attack or going through a really hard time and someone told me to meditate I scoffed. You think me, a person having a panic attack where I can't breathe, should slow down and BREATHE?


It seemed impossible to breathe in the middle of a panic attack, but I started to give it a shot again. I used to be a lot better about meditating when I was growing up. I don't think I really knew what meditating was yet, but I was doing a lot of what I do now and was able to help myself through some hard times when I was younger. I have visibly seen a difference in myself just by meditating for 10 minutes or less a day, which is very manageable! Set aside 10 minutes a day and give it a try. Meditating multiple days in a row works best, but start small so it doesn't seem so daunting.

A few tips:

- Remove your smartwatch if you have one so it doesn’t buzz on your wrist and

interrupt you.

- Silence your phone. Even if you are using a meditation app on your phone, doesn't mean

you can't silence it to avoid disturbance.

- If you live with someone or your partner, let them know what you are doing so they don't

don't walk in your calm space and interrupt.

The longer you can stay in this state, the better it will be for you mentally. If you are disrupted, don't worry, just try to get back into this state. After you are able to achieve ten minutes a day, try and meditate for a longer period of time (I'm currently trying 30 minutes in one sitting). Your ability to meditate and stay focused is not meant to be judged. Like most things it takes practice, so don't beat yourself up if you keep losing your focus, just keep practicing.


How to Meditate

Meditating can be one of the easiest things to do once you learn to do it. To start meditating the only thing you need to focus on is your breath.


4-7-8 Breathing Technique

Follow along with the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

- Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds and fill the belly with air.

- Pause and hold the breath for 7 seconds.

- Slowly exhale aloud through the mouth for 8 seconds.

Repeat this exercise four times.


The easiest way to introduce yourself to meditating, in my opinion, is to try it before bed. You are already trying to quiet your mind to prep it to fall asleep, why not take the simple steps of noticing your breath and letting go of all other thoughts and things around you? When done correctly, you will fall into a deep state of relaxation, which makes sleep even easier to achieve. Your mind begins to unload all of the weight from the day and allows you to be present in this moment in life. Allow thoughts to pass by without judgment, not them, accept them, then let them go and continue. Jay Shetty, Author of Think Like a Monk stated that in order to start your day off right, you must start the night before. How you feel when you go to bed is how you will wake up. So set yourself up for success and give it a shot.


Guided Meditation Apps

There are many types of meditation. Guided meditation is the one I am currently using, but there are others that you can try if this one isn't for you.

Read more about them here.


Life is fast-paced and so busy that sometimes we forget to stop and take care of ourselves too. When you are feeling lost or like you could use some guidance to calm down from a panic attack or just generally have a better mental health day, here are two apps I recommend. I don't think there is any harm in using a phone app to help you in this meditation journey, but just remember to have your phone on silent so your notifications don't interrupt.


Meditating has been a huge thing for me, especially after Michael died. All you need to do is find the topic you want to meditate on (i.e. manifestation, healing, coping with anxiety, etc.), close your eyes and focus on your breath. If you're like me and overthink every single aspect of your life, you will probably think "am I breathing too fast?" or "am I doing this right?". That is normal until you get the hang of it. Remember what I said about this being a judgment-free zone.


Insight Timer

I started to use the Insight Timer app back in December after seeing someone post about it on Instagram. I love that it has guided meditations, but also so much more! I like this app because it is free for the most part, there is an option to upgrade but I have very rarely run into issues or a push to pay for a membership.


If you are new to meditating/guided meditation, they have many beginner options and also walk you through the process. I think this is great for beginners to the meditation world, and they also have a daily counter so you can try and see how many days in a row you meditate!

Set goals for yourself, whatever makes you feel comfortable. Once a day for one week could be one, or you could say twice a day for thirty days! Do whatever feels right for you and take notes of what changes you see in yourself.


Headspace

Headspace is a very well-known app and used by many. You don't have to pay for it but there is a push to pay for a membership through this app. I have not used this one as much as I have used the other one, but I love their graphics and also have a great Netflix series, which I did watch all of the way through! I think this is another great option if you do not like Insight Timer, but remember that you will have to get a membership to unlock most of the meditations.


2. Yoga

Yoga is another great form of meditation, but also a great workout too! Often when we find ourselves in these negative ways of thinking a lot of us are stagnant and unmotivated to move. If you're like me, working out is a DRAAAAG. If you allow yourself the time to just sit with your body and stretch in ways that feel good, you would be surprised how much it can do for you! Start small, just lay a mat out on the floor first thing in the morning and stretch out your body doing what feels right for you. Don't feel the need to rush into online classes if it hasn't worked for you before. Your body will tell you what it needs and how long to stretch certain areas.


If you are feeling up for a class but aren't huge on in-person classes (especially with covid), try a class on YouTube! Search yoga for beginners and you will find so many teachers with 10-30 minute classes that you can follow along to in the comfort of your home. You don't have to start with a beginner yoga, but it does make a huge difference in the poses when you learn how to do them all properly. I highly recommend starting at the beginning and slowly moving your way up!


3. Self Help Books

Reading has not always been something I enjoyed. I am not the type of person to sit down and read novels about made-up stories, but I am one to read textbooks because I am fascinated with learning. Self-help books have changed my life. I will read them or listen to audiobooks, especially when I like the author. They provide us with great insights and let us know we are not alone. There are self-help books on numerous topics like self-esteem, self-love, believing in yourself, overcoming anxiety, etc. You name it!


A few of my favorite books have been:

- Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty

- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachell Hollis

- Remove your smartwatch if you have one so it doesn't buzz on your wrist and

- Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins (audio seminar, not a book but

INCREDIBLE!)


If you are struggling in one particular area and would like to learn how to get out of this funk, start researching different books that can teach you more about this aspect of your life. If there is a book about it, there tends to be a lot of solutions in those books to help!


4. The Mindset Mentor Podcast

I almost named this section 'Podcasts' but I knew I would talk about Rob Dial's podcast the whole time so here we are! The Mindset Mentor has been one of THE MOST healing and helpful things for me. Rob creates episodes based on human psychology, which is not also a fun learning experience about yourself, but others around you too. He is beyond motivating!


I started to replace listening to the radio shows in the morning (usually filled with drama in some way) and started listening to podcasts instead. I cannot tell you how much this benefitted me mentally. I was more prepared to take on my day and was learning a lot of new things too. I'm not saying you need to replace music with podcasts by any means, but if you want to sneak in some quick learning podcasts are a great place to start.


Check it out here! It is also available on iTunes and Apple Podcasts if you don't have Spotify.


Overview

If you are needing some guidance through hard times or just generally need a pick me up, these are a few great way to achieve it. I have seen a tremendous difference in myself even while grieving my brothers day to day through these techniques. If you are struggling in aspects of your life try one of these techniques and see if one of them can help you out along the way. Everyone is different, but it is worth a shot!