October 28, 2020
It’s a common catch phrase we read on social media and hear on TV these days. And it’s a phrase, in my opinion, that can evoke frustration and overwhelm as we consider the need to show up for one more doggone thing.
Let’s face it! 2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty at nearly every turn, overwhelm, frustration, disappointment, and everything in between. We’ve had to show up on jobs, riddled with fear and anxiety about possible COVID-19 exposure. We’ve had to show up in our homes, concerned about our families’ well-being. We’ve had to show up for friends and our community, bonding together to face the unknown. And we’ve had to show up for our world, collectively mourning the deaths of over one million individuals.
The thought of having to show up for anything else is maddening at best.
We are tired and weary. Our ears have deafened as a result of information overload. We grieve for ourselves, our family and friends, and our fellow women and men.
How do you show up for yourself in the midst of everything happening this year?
I’m convinced of one thing in 2020. This global ‘pause,’ if you will, has created a unique space for each of us to stop. Reflect. Consider ways to live a “new normal.”
Let’s take a step back for a moment.
When’s the last time you showed up for work? A Zoom call? Church? More importantly, what did it take for you to show up?
Here’s what I know, friends. Showing up for anything — be it work, a meeting, an event — involves preparation. Getting ready. Planning ahead.
You certainly wouldn’t just roll out of bed and hop on a Zoom call! (At least I don’t think you would!) No, you’d probably get up, take a shower, brush your teeth and hair, put on clothes, and then set up your computer prior to the call. Then voila, you’re ready to go!
Let me be clear. Taking a pause, listening to oneself, and responding to one’s own needs along the grief journey won’t occur by happenstance. No, these practices will happen as you set your intentions to do them.
Earlier this year, following my dad’s death, my brothers and I had much to tend to with regard to my dad’s affairs. Calls to make. Meetings to attend. Forms to fill out. Support to offer each other. And while none of these things was easy, we continue to complete them little by little, day by day.
Our steadfast approach to managing the business inherent in death was, unfortunately, challenged by a global pandemic. Facing personal death, mixed with global and community death, has been a nightmare, to say the least.
And with everything going on, the one ‘thing’ I forgot to show up for was me.
Imagine that. All my training as a licensed psychologist and grief expert flew out the window as I relegated myself to the sidelines of my own existence.
What does it mean to ‘show up for yourself’ as you grieve?
Three months after my dad’s death, I sat down to consider this question as I wrestled with dull headaches and fatigue on a daily basis and battled internal anger. At that point, my body was sharing all the signals necessary to know something was wrong. My emotions also signaled the need to prioritize things differently in my world.
The bottom line was that I had a choice to make.
Do I keep doing what I’m doing – continuing to show up for everything and everyone else – or do I show up for myself?
As you might imagine, I chose myself.
I scheduled time to connect with my health provider to explore better ways to manage stress and sleep. I quit a full-time job to pursue solo psychology practice and entrepreneurial pursuits. And within that, I streamlined my practice to three days per week in order to afford more time to write, focus on other creative projects, and rest. Finally, I carved out time each week to focus solely on my grief – my love, my sadness, my hope.
Showing up for myself didn’t happen overnight. However, with each passing day and signs pointing back towards me, I knew what I had to do.
These days, showing up for myself looks like …
Friends, you may not be able to quit your job or shorten your work week like I did.
However, you can pause to listen to what your body, mind, and spirit are saying. I’ve loved incorporating Mindful’s G.R.A.C.E. practice, “a 12-minute guided meditation, to gather your attention and consider what would really serve you,” over the past two weeks Here’s the link: https://www.mindful.org/the-g-r-a-c-e-practice-a-moment-to-engage-in-self-care/. Enjoy!
The grief process is lifelong and complex. And within it lies business demands, support for others, and the need to tend to daily responsibilities. Sometimes, we as grieving folks, forget that we also exist within the process. We too need attention and care.
As you read and digest this, I’m hopeful that you’ll pause for a moment. Breathe. Listen to your body, mind, and spirit. And respond to their needs as you grieve.
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