Have you ever noticed that some weeks are just hard? There seem to be days that come out of left field and are full of frustration, anger, and overwhelming sadness. Even if you’re going about your normal routine that the minutes feel like hours and hours feel like days. Sometimes we have no idea where these feelings come from. They hit us out of nowhere in the middle of our seemingly normal life.
I have discovered that our bodies seem to know the dates on the calendar more than we do. The body knows when a loved ones birthday or anniversary of their death is coming before we have a chance to look up from our daily routine to notice. It’s only when we look at ourselves in the mirror during one of these weeks when our tempers are short and tears come easy that we realize what exactly is going on.
What does this kind of week look like? To understand what this may look like, you need to know your “normal”. For example, I would consider myself a pretty patient human being and I am not one that cries easily. When I am enduring a week that has been taken over by grief feelings I have an incredibly short fuse and tend to want to start crying at any slightly sad or sentimental moment. It sometimes takes a day or two into a “funk” to realize that I need to allow myself to feel so I can get back to a more emotionally regulated life. I certainly know that the people around me would like me to do this as well.
So what do we do during these weeks that don’t seem to want to end? First, you have to tell yourself that it is ok to feel. It is ok to have these feelings that hit you out of nowhere. You are allowed to be a person who gets sad and angry even if you feel like enough time has passed and you shouldn’t feel these feelings anymore. There are always going to be triggers. There are always going to be hard days, even if it’s been years since your loss, because the rest of your life there are always going to be moments in which you want that person there.
Once you have given yourself permission to feel, see what you need. I spend a lot of time in my car every day commuting to and from work. Often times it’s the only time that I’m alone throughout the day. So I have a “sad” CD that pretty much stays in my radio at all times that holds 10 songs that can make me lose it when needed. It has been proven that sad music will actually help you feel better when you are feeling down. Putting in that CD in my car when I’m by myself allows me the space I need in order to cry if needed or to just listen.
Other things that I have heard help others come out of this mood is working out, going for a run, coloring (yes, even for adults), sitting outside, cleaning, or talking to a friend or loved one. In therapy, this is one of the things that I help my clients navigate. I am there to help them figure out what sort of coping skills will be the most effective for them in their grief journey.