Adding to my toolbox

First of all, thank you so much for reading this and following along on my journey of self-healing and self-regulation. It's a bumpy ride, that's for sure. But sitting here writing this now, I feel really good. Grief is different for everybody, so there's no set formula. But here's what I've been doing in the past three weeks (has it only been three weeks?) to manage my grief.

1) Get off of social media.

Social media is great for some reasons. I always enjoyed being able to keep in touch with cast mates from long ago closed shows. But during this pandemic I've found that personally it only brings me down. I feel Anger when I see friends congregating in large groups and not wearing masks, while I'm still under a form of lockdown (yes, even today). I feel Envy when I see some of those friends performing and having fun together as if there is no pandemic anymore. I feel Disassociation when I mindlessly scroll through my feed, not digesting anything really. To me, social media has become like alcoholism. Some people can use social media, just like some people can drink, and not have negative effects. Some people, like me, cannot use either without serious side effects.

2) Get therapy

I have two therapists that I'm working with: one marriage counselor, and one grief specialist. I'm also continuing along my yoga therapy training which, in addition to teaching me great skills to use with clients, is also providing a bit of self reflection and therapy for me. There's no shame in getting therapy!

3) Get moving

For me, once I start moving my body, I always feel better. I never regret exercising. Sometimes, though, it's so hard to get moving when all I want to do is go back to bed and zone out on Netflix. So I allow myself those moments without shame, and have a list (yes, a list) of physical activities I can do when I'm ready - ranging from gentle somatic yoga to cycling. Even if I just do some myofascial release, I feel better, and usually that spurs me on to do more. Not always, but usually.

4) Have some sort of morning and evening routine

Being in this pandemic without clear boundaries between hobbies, work, and home life is tricky. And now that I've taken a six week leave of absence from Lacuna Community, I really have very little structure to my days. This is why, for me, it's important to begin my day and end my day with some sort of routine. My loose routine (because, let's face it, sometimes it changes) is to wake up, make coffee, write my morning pages, eat breakfast, do the crossword puzzle, and then embark on some kind of physical activity. My evening routine is to take a hot bath and read in bed.

5) Go slowly

This is the toughest part for me. A great example: I went bike riding with my dad the other day and most of the ride was uphill. I was eager to get out in the fresh air, and I suppose I was showing off a little bit. When it became clear to me that the incline was not going to let up and in fact was going to increase, I became dizzy and had to stop and sit down on the side of the bike path. I had overdone it. I feel like I do this with a lot of things in my life. I get very excited about something and I pour all my energy into it, over extending myself. And then I quickly lose steam and interest and have to pull out. This has been a big a-ha moment for me. So, a few days ago, I decided to take a different approach to this bike path. I took breaks, stretched my body, drank some water, and once my heart rate returned to normal, I continued on the uphill climb. I didn't make it all the way to the top, but I got to a beautiful outlook and was able to enjoy the view. And isn't that what life is all about?

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