Recently many of my friends and clients have been going through breakups and it’s created a strong desire inside of me to be able to assist them in this process. However, as I looked at the process they are going through (which I have been through myself previously) I realized it’s not just limited to people who are going through breakups. The suggestions I will list are applicable to a variety of situations. In my life I have done long distance relationships, I have done divorce, I have encountered death, and I have done the break ups from hell. My intention for this blog is to alleviate some of the stress, anxiety, worry, guilt and fear that people in these situations go through.
I would encourage those people who are struggling through some kind of loss to use this as a checklist, instead of mandatory suggestion. I believe that having things like this in writing can be very powerful. It’s especially relevant during times when you are in turmoil or stress.
Here are the ways in which I have dealt with my own losses and the ways that I have encouraged others to deal with theirs:
- Re-arrange the furniture: This is a crucial step for a lot of people. Especially if the person who has left your life has spent time in your home or space. I encourage re-arranging the furniture because it creates a change in the energy. I also encourage cleaning and changing things in your environment. Maybe that means using different bedding, or bath towels.
- Change the air: This may sound really silly, however it’s a very real concept. The reason this is such a crucial concept is because smell is the biggest trigger in the brain. If your home typically smelled like roses prior to the loss, I would encourage you to change the smell. Find a smell that makes you smile, that makes you feel safe, and that allows you to be in your knowing.
- Change your routines: If every Tuesday the two of you walked to the Starbucks down the road from you don’t do that! Go to a different coffee shop, or don’t go to a coffee shop at all. Even what happens as you come home from work needs to change.
- Breathe: I’m afraid this again sounds like a no brainer. But if you only take a couple of these suggestions please please please do this one. At least five times a day take six deep breathes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathing is the most effective anti-anxiety solution. The more you are utilizing deep breathing, the less potential for increasing anxiety.
- Gratitude: I remember vividly, as I was ending one highly toxic relationship a dear friend reminded me that I needed to be grateful for the horrible pain I was in. It felt like a huge slap in the face. In that moment, I decided that I would express some gratitude just so I could tell her that it didn’t work. Sitting in my car, in a puddle of tears, and looking like a hot mess; I made the statement out loud, “Okay…I am grateful for the ability to feel these feelings. And I’m grateful for the willingness to feel this pain.”
- Set a timer: This is my number one recommendation for those people who are concerned that they are going to loose their mind by experiencing this grief, or that they won’t stop crying once they start. I mean this suggestion very literally. Set a timer, and allow yourself to cry for fifteen minutes every day… Here’s the catch though: once the 15 minutes is up, immediately change your focus.
- Affirmations: For those of you who follow my blog, you will know that affirmations are a HUGE component in my life. I absolutely love affirmations. Here’s what I would suggest for you: write out some goals, things that you want to accomplish within the next couple of weeks. Write them, speak them, record them, and breathe them as if they have already occurred.
- Visualize the healing: Spend some time imagining or visualizing the joy returning to your life. Visualize yourself getting out of bed, smiling, humming, and enjoying every aspect of your life. At some point in the past, I would literally sit in my car and visualize situations going the perfect way I wanted before I got out of my car.
- A day in your perfect life: At the height of my marriage ending, I was given this suggestion: write out a day in your perfect life in the future, include as much detail as you can. I was in a place of desperation so I took out a notebook and grabbed a pen and did it. I remember parts of it vividly: we had two kids, two dogs, two cats, and I was working in private practice. Fast forward three years or so, and as I was walking through the house one day it hit me: I had accomplished my perfect life! Literally, I was living with my husband who was amazing, my two bonus teens, two dogs and two cats! That’s the law of attraction at work
- Treat yourself: One of my favorite things to do is to go buy some fresh cut flowers. They are typically relatively inexpensive, so I am not out a lot of money. Who doesn’t look at flowers and absolutely smile? Increase the potential to smile in your own environment. You are worth it and you deserve it.
Here’s the bottom line for me: No two people grieve the same, don’t be afraid to seek help, find people who will help love you through the pain and provide accountability for you.
Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person sessions as well as distance sessions. Learn more about Jenn here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com