Loss is a powerful time in everybody’s life. It is something we all experience and is a period of profound soul-searching. I’ve spent many years on this earth and have navigated the loss of many of my most-loved people. Recently, it was my husband.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that life is precious. Below are some tips which I hope will help you live your best life, to make the most of your journey, and put things in perspective.
While I put these thoughts together before the stress, isolation and uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak happened, they may even be more relevant now.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
We all get caught up in the utter minutiae of life. I remember vividly fretting on the morning of my wedding day that it was bucketing down. I got so caught up I missed enjoying the morning before, the preparations, the joy of all my family being together, my bridesmaids’ kind and lovely thoughts. I wasted all that precious time and missed those moments, only for the sun to come out just in time for the service.
So try to accept what you cannot change, and do something about the things you can.
Food for thought
Forget the diet and the deprivation, it makes weight loss harder as you crave the item you’ve denied yourself. If you give in to the craving, you then beat yourself up for it.
Instead, eat that Bar Luca juicy burger then take it easy the next couple of days and eat healthy. It is all about balance. Plan to maintain a healthy diet for the majority of days and then enjoy the one or two treat days.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself.
Do the locomotion
Set reasonable expectations for an exercise regime, then stick to it. There is no point setting yourself the goal of exercising two hours per day if you are working a 40 hour week. Start with a smaller goal, see how you go, then you can always extend the time.
All work and no play…
Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do and aim to cross one off every couple of months. Not all of those things need to be expensive. It may be as simple as visiting the park or a green space you always drive past.
Creating a bucket list can be fun, especially when doing it with someone who shares the same interests and passions. Add and subtract from this list as you travel along your path. The bucket list might evolve due to life changes, but it is still a form of hope and enjoyment.
To love, and to be loved
Love as much as you can; you never know how much time we are granted in this place.
In the space of 12 years, the people I loved most in this world have departed. Whilst this is sad, it is a part of everyone’s journey, and what matters most is how you relate/react to your loss.
Allow yourself time to grieve, but know that grief is not linear. You can feel fine one day, then the next it feels like someone has hit you in the heart with a sledgehammer. All of this is normal and letting yourself feel this is part of a healthy grieving process.
Before it is too late, ask your family members to share their past and document their stories so you can share that with the next generation. It’s a great way to connect with them on a deeper level and you’ll learn a lot about them in the process.
Take time out to talk to those that you love and really listen to them. Dig into any deep, uncomfortable problems so that you can come to a resolution or understanding. Nothing hurts more than unresolved grief. While you have the opportunity to fix it, do so.
Live and let love
Understand that not everyone shows their love in the same way, but this does not affect the intensity of their love. My grandmother was not a demonstrative woman, but when we entered the room her face would light up (even at 102!) and she would always cook anything we asked for. Although she rarely said the words, this was her way to love.
Look at the positives
I always thought my husband wasn’t doing his share of the chores. I focused on the negative and didn’t take into account all the other things he was doing; a full time job, a dad, a PhD, a stat collector for Red Sox Baseball and Liverpool Football clubs, a husband.
It was easy to get caught up in what he wasn’t doing, rather than acknowledging what he was doing. He did so much for me, my son, and our family and I never got to thank him properly.
Ensure you take the time to look at all angles of the picture, and don’t jump to conclusions about what you think is happening rather than what is really happening.
Have Respect and Integrity
Our parents first teach us respect, laying the foundations while we’re young, but our lessons on respect should not cease when we become adults.
Instead, it is a continual life lesson. Knowing that different cultures and generations have different rules around respect and how to behave can be a very useful tool to make us better global citizens.
Being respectful to others is important, but never forget to respect yourself as well. This can lead to more positive self esteem, which in turn we can pay forward to others. A beautiful cycle if there ever was one.
Integrity means acting in private as you would in public. At some stage, acts of pretence will be illuminated and sadly it will mean that most of your hard work at maintaining facades will dissolve.
Respect and integrity also extends to your presence on social media. It is a great forum for sharing photos, chatting with friends and family, and posting interesting ideas you’ve stumbled across.
It is not a forum for conflict resolution or to process complex personal issues.
Dirty washing is not appreciated in this forum. As most of us are aware, everything you post online stays online long into your future. Only post the things you’d be happy for all audiences to read.
This blog is designed to be a live blog. Make it your own, take from it what you will, add to it what you like, and I hope it helps you enjoy the ride of life.
Look after each other.