I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I wanted it to be 2 things:
1. True to myself and followers
2. That my words would help at least one person.
I know I’m achieving the latter based on feedback and comments and that makes me so happy!
This brings me to the first. I have been very honest and open thus far and that brings me to today’s post. So here we go.
I have done a lot of work on my attitude and mentality over the years. This does not mean that I don’t have days where I backslide a little into old habits and thoughts. We are always a work in progress and always will be. That is why we are all here isn’t it? To learn and evolve.
This week, I talked negatively about someone else. Like really not nice at all. Immediately after, I felt-icky. And immediately began to do a few things.
I started internally berating myself
I started having anxiety that this person would find out
I started asking myself how I could ‘fix’ this
I wallowed in that shit for a few hours. But here is where the knowledge that I am making mental progress(for lack of a better term or should I say evolving? let me know). I knocked that shit off.
Instead of being incredibly stressed out and mean, I asked myself why I felt the need to say those things? What in this other person that I was bitching about did I dislike about myself? Why did I feel like it was ok to spew this poisonous bullshit? And I sat with that for a bit. That is where the work really is guys…and this is how we know we are “evolving”.
We recognize when we are doing something that is not conducive to the person we want to be, or that’s against the attititude we choose to live by and we do something about it. I challenge you to follow this process yourself the next time you catch yourself in the act of unkindness. Ask the questions, what do I see in this person I dislike in myself? Why do I feel the need to be unkind in this moment . Let’s make the world a better place by changing our mindsets, trust me, positivity is contagious.
I am not going to tell you what the situation was or the details about myself that I came up with, some stuff has to stay personal to me. But…I did ask my Angels this morning how to move forward in this situation, and this is what they responded with.
Needless to say, I am choosing to forgive myself, and move on.
I hope this finds you well, and that you may find this information helpful in your own personal journey to mental evolution (I like that word!).
On a recent road trip, I started thinking about what part of these excursions I focus more on, the journey or the destination.
Most of the time, I am the passenger, which affords me the luxury of casually noting the scenery as we are on our way to wherever we are headed that day. I notice beautiful landscapes, farms, amazing buildings, the clouds…the list goes on and on. More often than not, I enjoy this peaceful part of the journey more than the actual destination.
Other people, perhaps because they are the driver, are simply focused on getting from point A to point B, never really taking time to enjoy the journey and missing out on so much beauty.
Oftentimes, when we are out on these little roadtrips, I see cool little places along the way and think, that would be awesome to stop at. But then I think about timelines and such and understand that stopping along the way would jeapordize our opportunity to get to our actual destination.
This got me thinking about how this can be applied to life in general. Are we so focused on the destination that we miss out on the beautiful sights along the way?
How many little moments are we glossing over more focused on the end result? How many little side paths on a trail have we missed out on? What are missing on these short detours?
In life, we can attempt to take a straight path from A to B however, the universe will usually force us to either shift directions entirely or take a longer journey to get there aka make us Wend our Way.
Let’s try this week to keep these thoughts front of mind. When you’re out for that walk, take the side path and see where it takes you. You never know what that reward will be. Rather than getting frustrated, let’s take a moment to look around and see what’s in front of us that we can appreciate. I am right along there with you for that journey.
Let me know…are you more of a destination person or one that enjoys the journey? I’m trying every day to remembet to be the latter.
As I sit here with 2 weeks off work on a Thursday afternoon, I was about to pull out the latest puzzle I’m working on and I started thinking about puzzles and how they relate to living after loss.
I have long done puzzles because I enjoy the challenge of putting all the pieces back together exactly as they were when it was a whole picture. It’s satisfying to me.
Living after losing someone important to you is not that unlike doing a puzzle. I mean you start to look around and see the mess of pieces on the floor and say, how the hell am I gonna put all this back together? These pieces need to go back exactly as they were and I don’t know where to start. I have the picture in my mind of how life looked so I know how they SHOULD fit together.
So you start fitting them back together as best you can, but there’s pieces missing, and the picture looks different now. The pieces no longer fit together. No matter what you do, you cannot make the picture look the way it did before the loss. You just can’t. Just like with a puzzle, it gets really frustrating. Just like when you’re doing a puzzle, you need to step back from the way you remember that picture, and look from a new perspective.
Once you do that, you will see new pieces available to you to complete your new puzzle. The new pieces are new people that come into your life, new interests that you start to enjoy, maybe new beliefs enter into the view.
Accepting that your old puzzle will never fit back together again is not easy. There will be many times when you look back on that old puzzle willing those missing pieces to magically appear. There is sadness and guilt when picking up your new pieces. I wish I could say that those feelings disappear with time, but that has yet to be my experience. There are times when you will be thoroughly enjoying the new puzzle you are creating and then suddenly think of that old puzzle and the guilt and sadness are overwhelming. But, there will also be times when you can enjoy looking at both puzzles without guilt or sadness. That I can say is something that does become more frequent over time. So there is always hope.
So, as you start to piece your new puzzle together, try to enjoy that process. The pieces may change as you go along, so don’t get frustrated. Think of it as new challenge, and smile.
Not street signs. Signs from above, the universe, your relatives that have moved on from this life. I do. I am a believer, Too many things have happened in my lifetime to be a doubter. This post will not be for everyone, and that’s ok. If you are a believer, or are on the fence. READ ON
Throughout my life, I have received signs. For the majority of my lifetime, I dismissed them. I doubted. I wasn’t ready yet to accept that there is a power greater than me. The timing and sheer accuracy of some of these signs scared the living shit outta me to be honest. So I dismissed alot to coincedence, my imagination etc.
I am going to fast forward the signs I have received to the day that Kayla had Elena and what happened just prior to her having that seizure that ultimately claimed her life.
First of all, there’s the gut feeling. The feeling that something is not right at all, It is not thinking negatively. It’s your gut, the very very depth of your soul that you know..there’s something HORRIBLE coming. I felt that. In hindsight, I felt it as soon as Kayla told me she was pregnant. I pushed it aside. The day that Kayla went in the hospital in distress, it came back with full force.
I got to see Kayla after she had Elena. She was in rough shape, but concious and talking to me. That in itself is a gift I will always be thankful for. She sent me to see Elena in the nursery and I told her I loved her and I would see her soon. That was our last in person conversation.
After seeing Elena, I went to the washroom. As I was washing my hands, I looked on my shirt and there was a wet spot, in the shape of a heart. I looked at it and knew something was wrong. I headed back to her room and heard the code blue announcement. That was the start of the worst week of my life, but I feel like that heart was meant to comfort me when I look back on it.
Seems weird and far fetched right? I understand. I know it sounds like I’m crazy. Just bear with me because there is so much more.
About a week after Kayla passed, I had a dream. In it, Kayla came to me and she was about 6 years old. The place was dark, almost like a silhouette, a two dimensional area. Kayla had a little backpack on and she was skipping along a path, grabbing and holding my hand. She said, come on, I’m gonna be late! I asked where we were going, and she pointed down the path and said, sometimes, you just have to wend mom. And then I woke up. I was relieved at how happy she was, and immediatel y thought, WTF does wend mean? Turns out it is a very old word used to describe going to a destination, but not following a direct path. This is where the name for this site came from. To me, she was telling me she was ok, and she would be getting to where she needed to go eventually. Prior to this, I was plagued with horrible thoughts and nightmares (when I could sleep) worrying about where she was and if she was ok. This dream was a turning point for me. I slept after this.
Beyond this, there have been countless songs that come on the radio at just the right moment, the cardinals that randomly and abundantly show up for me when I am thinking of her, feathers that float up in a weird location just when I needed comfort. So many many many things.
Today…today was the best one yet. And it came in multiple parts.
First off, I read angel cards. It’s ok if you’re not into it, but if you’ve gotten this far then you’re at least curious or think I’ve totally lost it. I have a long history with Tarot cards and I can fill you in at some other point in time. Anyway…I did my morning meditations and normally I quiet my mind but today I felt so full of gratitude, and so positively charged that I sat for the entire time thanking the universe for basically everything in my life and repeating my positive affirmations over and over again.
After this, I read my cards. I asked how I needed to focus my energy moving into my vacation time. I got Ask and Receive and it basically was telling me to trust the angels and the universe and they will give me what I need. It also told me to practice gratitude which I did. I said a gratitude prayer and felt uplifted on a cold and snowy day.
After showering etc, I look at my phone to see a Facebook notification. Someone had liked a post from Jan 19, 2017. It was something Kayla had posted (she slipped into her coma Jan 23 2017). It was celebrating our “Friendaversary” and she captioned it with Love you mom. I admit, I cried, I got chills, all of it, but I felt GOOD, blessed and so thankful to hear that. I knew she wanted me to see that today.
That absolutely DID NOT prepare me for what happened after this…lol as is often the case with this stuff.
I called Kristina like I do every morning. My almost 3 year old grandson Landon who has never met Kayla, comes out with: “Nana has to get pumpkins for her house. Kayla is getting them. Kayla says Love you mom ok Nana?” I shit you not this happened. Kayla loved Halloween.
This brought me immense comfort. I felt compelled to share and to share it now. It is not my job to convince anyone that this stuff is real.
If you are interested in receiving signs, it’s pretty straightforward: You simply need to have an open mind and tell the universe you are ready.
Then, wait for the magic to appear. I promise you, when you are truly ready and accepting it will happen.
This week I want to talk aboout 2 things I practice and really believe in. One I have been practicing conciously for quite some time now and the other I am new to fully embracing and applying the concepts to.
Practicing gratitude is something that has helped me through alot of tough times. It’s not always easy to do and I’ve been through times where I really felt I had NOTHING to be grateful for. In reality though, if you’re breathing, then there is at least one thing to be grateful for. When Kayla passed, I still followed this practice and it was hard. I look back on the entries to my gratitude journal then and it was all based on the time I got to spend with Kayla, the fact we had Elena in our lives and the support of my family. It was all BIG stuff to be grateful for. I found this practice something that helped me to shed a bit of light on a really dark time. It showed me that I still had a reason to be around. I still had reasons to get up in the morning and breathe. If you’re having a hard time with thinking of things to be grateful for, you can start off with little things, it doesn’t have to be super deep. Things like, I am super grateful for this cup of coffee, because it gives me a kick start to my day and allows me to feel human. Finding a few things daily to be grateful for is especially important in tough times, like the one we are all currently living in.
There are all different methods of practicing gratitude and different times of the day that people do this. None of which are better than the other. There are journals to prompt you in the morning and evening, there are daily planners that incorporate writing things you’re grateful for when you plan your day, apps, websites, books, videos-you name it, there’s always a lot of differing opinions and methodologies out there. For me personally, I choose to do the following these days:
I wake up and try to think of 1 thing I am grateful for
I have my coffee and breakfast
I meditate for at least 10 minutes
I either use my calm app to write 3 things I am grateful for or use my gratitude journal(it depends on the month, I am currently going between the two to decide which I prefer)
That’s it! It’s not groundbreaking. I am not doing anything super crazy. The gratitude piece takes me anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, Some days it’s easy, and others it’s hard.
What I am learning though as I wend my way to an enlightened mind and spirit, is that practicing gratitude is the foundation for the my next practice, which I have only recently gotten serious about which is Affirmations.
I mentioned last week that I was rereading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. This book is amazing if you are looking to take your spiritual self and healing your mind to the next level. It really is a book that talks about how you speak to yourself and what that creates in your life. Alot of the times, you don’t even realize the things that you say and how it is impacting the path your life takes.
Let’s look at this a bit deeper. Think about how you perceive yourself. You think, I am overweight. I don’t like my freckles, I don’t have time to meditate. I am broke. My car sucks. I hate my job. You wake up in the morning and think well, here goes another shitty day.
How do you think your days will go if you think this way? You create your own reality. A favorite quote from Louise Hay goes like this “A thought is just a thought, and a thought can be changed” Think about that for a second. YOU control your thoughts. Nobody else does, just you. Nobody else even hears your thoughts so you can THINK WHATEVER YOU WANT. What???? Holy game changer guys. Think about that. You can tell yourself anything. That means that,..if you create your own reality by telling yourself your own thoughts that nobody else can hear….then you can create the life that you want by changing how you think.
So how can we change our thoughts? First of all, as with anything, it’s going to take time. It’s creating a habit, and you’ll need to work at it just like you would with changing any habit.
So let’s think of that self perception. I am overweight. How can you change that thought to better serve you? Would you tell a friend hey you’re fat? NO! So why would you talk to yourself that way???? Instead, we can think, I love this body. This body is working so hard to carry me around every day. This beautiful body is what is helping me to exercise so that I can live a long and healthy life. How much better does this sound?
What about the thought when you wake up? Here goes another shitty day…if you think that, how do you think your day will go? You guessed it, it’s going to be shitty because you thought that, and therefore that is what you created. So instead, let’s think this, Here I am, ready to start another day. It’s a clean slate and everything is going to go so well for me today. I am open to all the lessons and experiences this day will bring to me. I can’t wait to see what is in store. This is going to create a different reality for you, and it’s going to change your mindset for the day.
I am not delusional. These things do work if you practice them. We are all here on earth for a limited time. Why would we choose to live it in a way that lends to a miserable existence? What is the point of that? We are all works in progress. Let’s make a pact to at least try. I challenge you to read the book I mentioned and to start or continue your gratitude practice.
It will change your life. It has definately changed mine.
Lack of focus Fogginess Forgetting things Mood swings Sadness Depression Anxiety
These are all things that impact us when we are grieving. And grief is not something that just impacts us when a person dies. There are all different types of grief that we will experience throughout our lives. Think of it like this…grief happens when we lose something or someone. So if we take that statement and thoroughly examine it we can understand the following things: We grieve when a relationship ends We grieve when we lose a job We grieve the loss of a friendship We grieve the loss of a pet We grieve the loss of a lifestyle We grieve the loss of freedom
*obviously not an exhaustive list..just some examples
These statements used to make me really really angry. I was so caught up in my own grief that I was offended that people would think this way. How dare they compare a loss of a pet or a divorce to what I was experiencing??
But nobody was doing that. Making these statements doesn’t take away from my experience with grief. Everyone’s experience in this lifetime with anything is different because there are so many different factors at play.
First of all, with a loss, people start at all different places in their lives when it happens. Some are more emotionally equipped to deal with it. There are many other factors too, like the relationship you had with the person, your belief system…it goes on and on. It’s a PERSONAL experience related only to you and you alone. I can’t for example begin to understand another parents loss or their journey. How could I? I don’t know how they feel. I can relate to the person and their situation but I don’t know how they feel.
When I say we are all grieving…let’s take 2020 as an example.
We lost our sense of normalcy. Our lives will never be the same. Not ever. This is 100% a situation that will trigger a grief response.
So here are some things I would suggest to help you through:
Get outside, even if it’s freezing cold and only for 15 minutes. You need to change it up.
Find one thing that brings you joy. It can be as simple as hiding in the bathroom with candles and a bubble bath.
Practice gratitude. Find 3 things a day you are grateful for. Some days for me, I struggle with it, but you can find them. It can be as silly as, I am grateful for running water in my home.
Move around. I know…this is hard but moving your body releases endorphins that make you feel GOOD.
Incorporate healthier meal options. Trust me, the donuts may give you comfort temporarily, but the sugar will make you feel like shit after.
I would suggest the book The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W James and Russell Friedman. It has fantastic exercises in it to help work your way through.
Get Social – Phone a friend. Do a video call. Have a social distance visit outside. You need other people, it’s a basic human need.
These things will all help you. And it’s just a start! Keep following me here so we can continue wending our way together.
This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s long been my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday with no monetary expectations. You hang out with family and friends, reflect on what you’re thankful for and eat a delicious meal. It’s right up my mindset alley.
This year was different for many of us, we were missing people at the table and it was just not the same.
This is what every holiday/family event has been like since Kayla’s been gone. Nothing is the same.
We love to entertain, to have the house full of people and it’s usually loud. We still do that(well pre covid anyway) but there’s the empty chair. It’s still fun to be with everyone but, like everyone’s celebrations this year, there’s something missing.
So what do you do to get through?
First of all, you need to change your perspective. We aren’t getting through. It’s a time to enjoy those that are still here with us. It’s a time to reflect on being thankful for all the fun times you had pre-grief with your people/person that is no longer physically here.
You also need to talk about it. You need to speak the person’s name and say you wish they were there. It’s ok to do that. Don’t worry about bringing everyone down because, if you keep it inside, you’ll keep them all down ANYWAY.
If you’re that friend and family member that’s been shying away because you don’t know what to say when someone is grieving on a holiday, here is some advice:
Ask us how we are feeling. Don’t worry you won’t “remind us” of our loss. It’s always there.
Say the person’s name. I’m sure you miss that special loved one too.
Don’t try to “fix” us. Just listen to what we have to say. Don’t give us advice or platitudes. Don’t tell us that the person that’s gone would want us to enjoy Thanksgiving. Just say, I support you however you need today.
So this past Thanksgiving you may have gotten a little bit of an idea of what a grieving persons holidays are like. So how do I manage them?
As I get more intimately familiar with my grief, I rely more and more on my tools. I meditate, I exercise, I make sure I feed my body properly so I have the energy to keep myself in a proper mindset.
I practice gratitude believe it or not. Daily gratitude reflections have really helped me even through the days that I struggled to find one thing to be grateful for.
I walk. I go to the forest 😊 and I do some birdwatching because that calms me down.
I see my grandsons because they bring me a ton of joy.
But I don’t push Kayla from my mind in all of this. In these times, I reflect on many memories of Kayla while I’m doing these activities and it brings me back. It gives me happiness to think of her.
So, if you’re grieving it’s my hope that my words today have helped you. And if you’re that supportive friend or family member, thank you on behalf of all of us.
As the final official entry about my toolbox I was going to just talk about books I leaned on, however it turned into more than that. These things all helped me and my hope is this helps you find your own tools for your toolbox.
I was my own research assistant and others reached out and shared their tools. Some of the support I’ve gotten over the years came from the most unexpected places. Like the acquaintance I have that gave me the name of an amazing peer counsellor.
Like I said, the universe provided me with my peer counsellor C. She was recommended by someone who had her own grief and incredibly difficult loss. Through C, I ended up working with BFO(Bereaved Families of Ontario) and going to weekly peer counselling group sessions. We named ourselves the Mighty Mom’s. We cried, we shared, we laughed when other people would think it was inappropriate to be laughing. It was a safe space to get the shit out. That group helped me more than anyone will ever appreciate. I cannot say enough about this service and this organization. If you’re ever in need of grief counselling and I pray you don’t… definitely look them up here.
I said before I called my EAP(employee assistance program) at work and did email counselling. While it was a start to keep me from entirely losing my shit, it absolutely was not enough for me. BUT…they sent me a package about grief. Most of it was admittedly total bullshit written by some psychologist somewhere that’s never had a loss in their life…however, there was a book in there called The Grief Recovery Handbook. I scoffed at the title because like come on..this book though, it covers all types of grief (something I will be blogging about soon) and has activities to help you deal with your shit. I have read it through it twice and completed the activities, recommended it and leant it out to others when they needed it. This little purple book was a godsend to me and was an absolute turning point in helping with my experience with grief, not just from the loss of Kayla, but past losses too.
Books have been huge for me, not just post loss but in general over the course of my adult life..I am currently working through You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay because well, there’s still stuff I need to work through. This is another amazing tool and again, I highly recommend it. I’ll do a full post on this book when I’m done.
I did also join a few Facebook groups for grieving parents. I am going to say it and I hope I don’t offend anyone reading but they didn’t help me. I felt these parents’ pain too greatly and if I’m being honest, it was a negative experience. There was a lot of people flopping around refusing to get out of bed because their pain was too great for them to bear and I GOT IT, I really did, but I was so engrossed in my own shit it made me angry. Like so angry that people weren’t willing to get up. Right or wrong, that was how I felt…and it was alot of the “misery loves company” type of experience and I am just not about that. Once I figured out that this was making me feel worse rather than better, I jumped out of all of the groups and did more of my own thing.
So all these things have helped me get where I am today: the workouts, the healthy eating, the meditation, counselling, books etc…but I am and always will be continuing to add to my toolbox as my grief evolves. It’s never going to go away. I will never be fully “healed”. It doesn’t work that way. What will continue as life goes on for me is that as I add these tools and wend my way through my grief, is that I will keep evolving spiritually. Because that is what grief really is…it’s a spiritual evolution thing. That’s my take on it so far anyway. We will save that for another post though.
Hopefully, this is helpful to someone out there.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, whatever that looks like for you in these crazy times.
This week, I want to talk about another tool in my toolbox which is meditation. When thinking about what to share I began to think about my journey with meditation so far and how it started. The truth is..I can’t really pinpoint that. See, I didn’t set out to meditate. In fact, I thought of people that meditated as kinda weird. They were posting on social media with their pics of burning sage, crystals and talking about how at peace they were and I was like, ya, that’s SO not me!
The meditation thing for me started off really gradually, and was never really a conscious decision per se. I got my first real personal exposure to it way back when I started taking Body Flow classes at Goodlife. At the end of each Yoga/Thai Chi/Pilates fusion class, there was a 3-5 min savasana with a guided meditation. I didn’t think of it as a meditation. I thought of it as positive messaging and a nice relaxing end to a tough class. When I stopped going to Goodlife, I essentially stopped meditating.
Years later, anxiety crept in again and I tried meditation as a way to try and relax and ease it, not really understanding that mediation is more about your active mind in the present, rather than having a time to not think. Because of that, after a few sessions on an app, I got frustrated (and more anxious) so I dropped it.
When I lost Kayla, I struggled with a number of things. I spoke last week about the physical release that exercise gave me, but that alone was not enough to help me.
When I was at my Mighty Moms session, someone said that I was still in denial about Kayla being gone. They were mostly right, but it was more that I was afraid to face that. I couldn’t let my brain come out of the past. I was terrified that if I did that, I would completely lose my mind and I would be gone forever, locked up in the nuthouse, rocking in the corner and be useless to the rest of the people that desperately need me to be “ok”. Whenever I pictured in my mind what that fear looked like, this is what I saw:
I saw this type of bridge but more rickety. I was mentally picturing that if I started across here, with a healed self on the other side, that I would get halfway across and it would either fall and kill me, or I would be stuck there. Some deep ass shit for sure. So I stayed on the edge.
One day, I fucking lost my shit. I was home alone for one of the first times and I had a bad day-I think it was Kayla’s birthday or something, I don’t know those days are pretty foggy to me. But when I say I lost my shit….let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty BUT it allowed me to start crossing that mental bridge.
After that, I started researching tons of things to try to help me. I found books and groups and websites(I’ll talk about that stuff next week) and really started to look into meditation.
I’m going to shamelessly plug the calm app because it helped me so much with guided meditation. They literally have a meditation for everything. Check them out – there is a free version to their app.
Turns out, meditation is not about turning off your brain. It’s more about turning it on. You tune into THAT present moment that you’re in, allowing you to feel your emotions and physical self without judging it, or trying to fix it. I am not an expert, I don’t make up my own meditations and I don’t know if I ever will. I use the guided meditations and they have created in me a peace that I didn’t think was possible. I discover something new about myself every time I sit and participate in a meditation. I have learned not to judge my emotions and that I will be OK. Some sessions are better than others, but I never ever regret sitting in meditation.
Daily meditations have helped me to be more focused, less judgmental of other people, and understand all of my emotions. It is helping me be less reactive and take pause before getting upset. It’s been an integral part of getting across the rickety bridge. I do truly believe that I’m on the other side of the bridge now. I’m not fully healed, never will be, but I’m in such a good place mentally because of this amazing tool.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever tried meditating? What is/was your experience? Let me know in the comments or on social.
Next week, I’ll post part 3 of my toolbox. Until then, I’m off to use tools 1 & 2. Have an amazing week!
First things first….last week after I published my post, I decided to clean up the site and organize things a little better. This is my first blog and using WordPress is something I am still learning. In my haste…I freaking deleted my original post. I was so upset and feeling a bit frustrated. I was like, maybe I should just forget it. Negative self talk right? After a few minutes, I took a step back and said to myself, is it REALLY that bad this happened? Truth is-no. There are worse things in life FFS.
So here I am today. I contemplated rewriting that post. My story. A timeline but you know what? I don’t need to give a timeline. Yes it’s what happened in my life and it ALL made me the person I am today. But…it’s the tools that I used then and continue to use that shaped how I handled all of it.
Back when the kids were younger and I was still married, I suffered from crippling anxiety. The kind where you can’t even get groceries. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I left a cart stranded in the middle of the store and scurried out because I was having an anxiety attack. I really and truly felt at the time like there was nothing I could do about it and this was just my life.
As the kids grew, I finally got a decent job outside the house, and started to look into ways to help my anxiety. I discovered that just moving your body a bit a day helped so I started walking.
Walking turned out to be a great time to tune into myself and be alone with my thoughts. I started to understand that anxiety was a way for your body to deal with alerting you that you needed to change something in your situation. It’s your subconscious working with you. As I continued to walk and decompress, that anxiety haze started to lift. I was able to make some better decisions that would alter the course of my life and I left a 15 year relationship. I gained confidence and was finally happy.
I started going to the gym with a friend and the anxiety was really gone.
Over the years, shit happened in life that allowed anxiety to creep in here and there. Stressful teenage daughter years, loss of friends and friendships, stress at work, loss of loved ones. The list is pretty big. Each time, I turned to exercise in some capacity and I have managed to shift my perspective and keep my positive spin on life.
When Kayla passed away for example, I curled up and didn’t want to do anything. I know that is normal and understandable but this isn’t about that part. When this happened, I felt that familiar feeling of anxiety coming but this time was the mother of all anxieties..it was the crippling, worst type I have ever ever experienced. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’m not the person that just curls up in a ball crying and saying why me? I did that for a bit and it was justified. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with what I was going through so I kept it to myself.
But…even though this was happening, a few other things occurred and it was like an autopilot reaction to take care of myself. The morning after Kayla passed, I walked. Like I really walked. First thing in the morning on a freezing cold February day, I walked for 5 km. I walked to see my dad in his niche. I had a conversation. I looked at the beauty of the sky-it was so clear, the perfect day. And, it made me feel better than I felt before I did it.
About a week later, I pulled up my big girl panties and I decided I needed to do something to get out my anger because holy shit I was MAD. I was BITTER. I was not in a good head-space. I went to my dresser, grabbed my workout clothes and turned to a Beachbody program called Shift Shop. It was such a tough workout. The trainer that created it, Chris Downing is pretty inspirational. He has been through some tough shit and the things he said during those workouts: POWERFUL. I did that entire program. I CRIED at the end of most of them. I cannot thank that program enough for how much it helped me get back to trying to carry on with my life. This was the number one thing that I did for MYSELF, that lit a fire under my ass to keep going. It wasn’t a cure, that’s not what I am saying, it was just a shift in perspective. It started me on my way to healing.
All of this is why I push myself to exercise and why I try to help other people. I feel pushed to share with others how I’m healing in hopes to help one other person. There are lots of other tools in my toolbox, and I will be speaking more about them in the weeks to come.
I’d love to hear your story. Have you suffered from anxiety? Are you grieving? What tools do you use to help you?