In this Divine Healing Coaching episode, learn how to take the best care of you at all times in your grief and make space in your heart for all the goodness you do want to create once again in your life.
0:12 Self-care in grief
4:33 Why self-care is difficult to practice
6:54 Breaking the pain cycle
8:12 Suggestions for self-care
11:12 The grind of grief warning signs
13:07 Making space for goodness
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Books (by Vonne Solis)
“Lessons in Surviving Suicide – A Letter to My Daughter”
“Divine Healing Transforming Pain into Personal Power – A Guide to Heal Pain From Child Loss, Suicide and Other Grief”
“The Power of Change”
Vonne Solis 0:00
Welcome to another Grief Talk Coffee Chat episode. I'm your host, Vonne Solis.
So welcome to another Divine Healing coaching episode. Today I am going to be talking about the importance of self-care in grief. And I'll start right off the bat by saying that many people shy away from self-care in their lives, in general, never mind in grief. It does take an understanding of one's self-worth to care for yourself in pain. But I found it was essential to put my needs first from my very earliest grief after I lost my daughter Janaya to suicide in 2005 if I was to embark on a healing journey that I was actually committed to. I also learned how important self-care was to help me take responsibility for my life in all that I was going through. Which included my grief, and all that I wanted to experience going forward in my life in my bereavement.
So while in another time and place, I can honestly say that it felt more comforting and desirable to have somebody else take responsibility for my healing, and tell me what to do in my life going forward, in actual fact, only we can look after ourselves. And incorporate the healing and actually create the type of life we want in our bereavement and moving through our grief because absolutely nobody else has the power. And to tell you the truth, even the interest in doing this for us.
So adopting this belief, and basically just putting it into work in my life and grief, as scary as it was back in 2005. And I admit to having a spiritual practice to that point, you know that I became bereaved for 23 years. So it was pretty easy for me to take responsibility, it was still really scary, not having a vision for where I wanted to go in my life. Had no clue and being totally confused for much of the time, which didn't help me feel confident in making choices. Nevertheless, I still committed to taking responsibility and investing in myself. Taking care of myself as part of this journey to free myself one day from the suffering.
Back then, just like today, I trusted that if I gave my life over to greater forces than me to help shine a light on where I needed to go and what I needed to do and what I actually needed in my life, which back then was the angels. I trusted that with every step I took, the next one would be shown to me. And I still practice that in my life to this day.
So not long after Janaya died, I kind of intuitively just started to practice self-care in my grief. Some of it was forced on me in terms of things I had to give up. Like obligations and responsibilities that I physically could no longer keep up with. But other practices, such as carving out quiet time for myself. Resting. Retreating to my bedroom, you know, to just be by myself, and sometimes I you know, immersed myself in, you know, Angel studies. And sometimes I just took a bubble bath and lit a candle. But the essential theme for me was carving out some time for myself. Because, as I say, intuitively, I seem to recognize that if I didn't take care of myself, I was never actually going to be able to get out of the severe suffering that I was experiencing.
And in looking back, I can honestly say that everything that I did do that brought even a small amount of comfort into my life at that time, definitely was a critical piece of kickstarting and then keeping the momentum of healing going throughout my grief. And I'm not gonna you know, sit here and say that, you know, I'm fully healed. But I definitely have reached a place of healing in my life that is very, very significant to my overall changes I have made and enjoy in my life today. Where it is totally balanced and everything I do I enjoy. And I have a really good life.
So while I get that practicing self-care can be difficult for anyone, for grievers, it is especially difficult, largely because most of us don't really think too much about pampering ourselves. Hey, spa day. When was the first time you ever had a spa day or have you even had one? And they don't think too much about how much they deserve in life.
So as I say, in general, not really thinking too much about what you deserve in life for holistic healing, throw in the grief piece and it is especially magnified. And it is common for grievers to not only not think about what they deserve or how much pleasure they would, you know, want to welcome into their life. Answer is pretty much across the boards none.
In fact, the longer a person is in grief and when these little sort of twinges of feeling good, you know, are noticeable and I believe they happen for a majority of grievers. You know, you notice a bird singing. Oh, that feels nice. That sounds so pretty. The warmth of the sun on your face. Oh, that feels really good. You know, you whistle, a tune. These are some of the things that were you know, sort of early signs of pleasure for me. And our our natural instinct, depending on how intense our grief is, and how much guilt and remorse we feel in our bereavement, but these things can can feel scary, and we want to reject them, because we don't want to allow ourselves to feel any pleasure or goodness. And that is pretty common in grief.
So basically feeling guilt and remorse and, you know, shame. Overwhelming shame for not being able to save our loved one who has died. And this is especially true for bereaved parents, right? Can trap us in a pattern of self-punishment. Punishment can feel better than, you know, goodness, for sure. And for a really long time in grief. And it is a cycle that can be very, very difficult to get out of. I think largely this is part of, partly because we don't really even realize we're punishing ourselves. And secondly, because pain can become our best friend and feel better than the love and compassion that we really actually do need to acquire for ourselves if we're going to deal in our grief, and for some people completely from their grief.
But here's the thing, in order to heal authentically, you'd need to start with a practice of self-care. Nurturing your body, mind, and spirit helps to actually break the pain cycle that is so essential to as I say kickstart and then keep this momentum of healing going. Even if it's like super minuscule on a daily basis. Just something that helps us feel a little tiny bit better than the way we want to be feeling at any given moment throughout that day.
The moment that you welcome anything positive into your life. Anything that feels as I say, just this little bit better than what we're feeling in that moment, that contributes to the overall transformation we ultimately experience over a number of years, really, that becomes a journey of holistic healing. Something that is really essential to any healing, but especially in grief is feeling comforted, loved and supported. But again, the more that you can feel this and demonstrate this for yourself, the more that you will heal.
So stop for a moment right now and think about how much you nurture yourself in the past and right now. And this is especially important to think about the more intensely you are feeling your grief right now. It's important to think about all through your grief, but especially if you are intensely feeling your grief right now. And if self-care is missing entirely in your life, here are some suggestions to implement self-care in your life, starting right now and as part of your daily routine.
So easy. You can take a bubble bath at least once a week if you have a bathtub. And if you have a whirlpool, take a spa Whirlpool and light a candle. I get it if you don't have a bath, that's not going to work. But if you do have a bathtub, think about that. Rest often and without guilt. Avoid responsibilities and obligations that you just can't do. Might be physically or timewise. Get rid of them from your life. Ask for help when you need it. Give yourself permission to grieve and grieve openly, if you have to. Always be honest with yourself about what you are thinking and feeling in your grief. And lastly, learn to say no.
Now I want to go back just really quickly to this grieving openly when and you know if you can. So you might go, No, I don't I don't want to do that. Well, here's here's the thing. When my daughter Janaya died I would go shopping at the grocery store and I've heard this from many bereaved people. And as I was walking down aisles and I would see her favourite foods, I literally started sobbing. And I was like frozen in place just having this absolute attack of pain. And wanted to have a black armband on my arm so that people who were passing by me and looking at me like really strange, right? Would know, they'd see the armband and go, Oh, she just lost someone. We understand. And, you know, maybe someone would have even come up and comforted me. Put their arm around me. But instead, I just looked like this wacko in a grocery store aisle.
And one of the reasons that shopping had become so difficult for me is because it was the last place that I saw Janaya the day before she died. So clearly, the trauma was was evident. So I had to give up shopping and turn that responsibility over to my husband and he did that for years so I didn't have to go into grocery store. So that's what I'm talking about when this grief just overwhelms you. And you put this mask on and you try not to show any feeling. Sometimes you just gotta let the emotions out unapologetically. That is part of self care.
So many people, including grievers themselves don't really understand the grind that grief is. The toll that it takes on us mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. And it is essential to understand this in order for us to begin to practice our self-care. We need to kind of know what we need in that moment to nurture it. Living with constant mental and emotional and physical pain takes its toll on us and I think makes us really susceptible to fatigue, chronic illness, depression, anxiety, stress, and plain just wears the body down.
And while any kind of suffering takes its toll on anybody. I think that grievers are especially vulnerable to all sorts of afflictions that can cause health problems. And so as a griever, it is essential that you remain vigilant to any signs that you might be in a health crisis or a health scare and seek medical attention immediately. Be vigilant about your ongoing self-care that will help you notice these signs and question what may be wrong with you or what you are actually going through.
In the next coaching episode, I'm going to be talking about abundance in grief. And I have come to understand that if we don't practice self-care, we can't really embrace and appreciate the goodness that we may want in our life now and going forward. And this is applicable to absolutely every area of our life. This means expressing love for ourselves. Feeling forgiveness for ourselves, and providing the nurturing that we need to embrace the goodness that we do want to bring back into our life if not now, then one day.
For now, just consider how willing you are to embrace love and forgiveness for yourself. And how open you might be to one day, entertaining the idea of bringing goodness into your life by appreciating all that you have been through. All that you have survived. And all that you may want to experience as part of thriving once again. And again, as I say if not now, then one day in the future.
The more that you begin to feel all the goodness that you can bring into your life. And as I said earlier, this does start even without us knowing it. Having these little twinges within that kind of go, Oh, that felt kind of weird. But I used to feel that way. That does happen for us in our grief, even if we're going to cringe about it or feel a little guilty about it when it is happening. But the more that you can begin to appreciate the goodness that you want in your life, the more that you will come to view and appreciate your loss in a different and a more expansive way.
Where you can start to make space in your life for viewing your grief perhaps just a little bit differently. Which then changes the relationship that you have to your loved one who has gone to having a relationship that is graceful and loving rather than one that is rooted only in pain and suffering. And any amount of self-care that you can give yourself starting right now will help you with this overall transformation.
So take care. Love yourself Forgive yourself. Until next time, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening.