Bereavement and Dealing With Loss

“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself” – Robin Williams

The one thing in life that we are all guaranteed to experience is loss and bereavement. Many people associate loss with death; however loss can be defined as anything that is no longer in your life that causes you significant emotional discomfort and pain.  Therefore loss can be related to:

  • Loss of health
  • Loss of youth (the aging process)
  • Partner/friends/family
  • Loss of job or lifestyle
  • Loss of security
  • Loss of confidence or self esteem
  • Loss of pets
  • Loss independence
  • Loss of choices
  • Loss of a future you had planned
  • Loss of purpose in life
  • Finances

And I am sure you would be able to add to this list.

Dealing with loss

We are Taught to Acquire, but not How to Cope with Loss and Bereavement

It is interesting that at School we are taught to “get”; get a good education, get a good job, get a partner, get a nice house, car, children, clothes and so the list continues.  As a society we are taught many things, but one thing is absent from the school curriculum: how do we deal with loss when it arrives in our life?  What do you do with the overwhelming feelings of sadness, bereavement, and the ensuing emotional rollercoaster of emotions?

According to the Grief Recovery Institute, 8 million people become new grievers each year. The divorce rate exceeds 45% not including those who are not married.  That is a lot of loss and bereavement.

People seek out Counsellors, to help which is good, but what if you knew how to manage the emotions of loss as it arrived in your life?  What if you had the tools that you needed to feel better?

We have all known loss and will continue to know loss on the journey of life.  Each individual processes their losses in a different and unique way.   There is a tendency to feel so uncomfortable with loss that it is pushed under the carpet and covered up with an “I am fine” attitude.  However this is not useful or helpful as those emotions will arise at some point in the future when you least expect it to happen.

bereavement feeling sad

So What Can You do When you Experience Loss in Your Life?

Well how long is a piece of string?  Here are some tips to help you deal with loss and also to help others:

Don’t say the following:

Don’t cry

Crying is good and allows you to release

 

Don’t feel bad    

How?

 

He she is in a better place  

Is this true? How do you know?

 

There are plenty more partners

But you wanted the one you lost

 

You have to be strong for….   

How? When you are in deep pain

 

Keep yourself busy    

Is the same as brushing it under the carpet.

 

People do not know how to deal with loss as they have not been taught how to deal with it either.  Quite often they do not know what to say, when to say it, or if they should say it at all, and they are afraid of our tears, emotions and feelings.  In some cases it may trigger their own.  You may find people are reluctant to hear about your loss and will change the subject or worse still they are not hearing what a griever has to say.

A person in loss needs to be heard.  You may wish to say “I am sorry, what happened?”  Then listen without interrupting, without offering your own comparisons, without offering advice.  Be a heart with ears and hear what they are saying.

You may wish to offer your help in other ways by offering to babysit, cook dinner, and let them know you are there for them; help them with housework and invite them to events.  Don’t push them away or isolate them from your life.

Other people may say to you, “I know how you feel” but they don’t.  Your loss is unique and personal to you, and the only person that really knows how you are feeling is you.

A person in grief and sadness is likely to experience the following:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Emotional rollercoaster
  • Eating habits may change to more or less
  • Disrupted sleep

Please seek out the help and support you need if you are dealing with loss. The Grief Recovery Programme is excellent.

If you have enjoyed this Blog and would like to know more, why not check out our Dealing with Loss Module to see how we can help and support you.

Have a wonderful day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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Supercharge Your Confidence

“Confidence is courage at ease” – Daniel Maher

There is no doubt that confidence may occasionally take a dip as a woman reaches mid-life and beyond.  Changes are taking place on many levels, physically, mentally and emotionally, and it is a time for adjustment.  Many women feel that their self-esteem is not as high as it was and for many this can be a time of uncertainty and insecurity.

Confidence

Many of my clients mention that they no longer like looking in the mirror and seeing the march of time appearing on their faces.  Or to watch and witness changes within their body.

One of the most common statements that I hear is a feeling of loss.  As a woman leaves the child bearing years behind and finally says goodbye to having more children, this can cause feelings of loss and sadness.

However, the mid-life years and beyond are also a wonderful time to shake up your life a little and get back on track doing the things you used to love doing before children or responsibilities of home, family or work took priority.

This time in your life is all about more:

  • Freedom
  • Time to do what makes you happy
  • Rediscovering your hobbies and interests
  • Developing yourself
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Saying “yes” to yourself and “no” to others
  • Discernment about how you spend your time and who you spend it with

This time in your life is less to do with:

  • Caring what others think
  • Believing that you do not matter
  • Negative self-talk
  • Wasting time doing what you dislike
  • Self-criticism
  • Comparing yourself with others
  • People-pleasing
  • Focusing on your perceived flaws

It is an exciting time of change, possibility, and adventure!

What about that trip you have always wanted to go on?

What about the books you want to read?

What about the language you have always wanted to learn?

What about the course you wanted to attend?

Yes, you may feel that your house is quiet after children fly the nest to pastures new.  Some women report feeling “redundant” with no family to take care of any longer at home.  If you view this time as an amazing opportunity for you to start doing allthe things you have put off for so long and rebuilding a part of your life that fits who you are now.  How does that feel for you?

Self-confidence is tied to both the physical and emotional elements of who you are.  There are changes taking place on a physical and emotional level, such as hair changes, skin changes, hormone fluctuations, lack of libido in some cases, mood changes, forgetfulness, lack of energy, and insomnia for some.  It is no wonder that your confidence levels are lower than usual if you are finding it difficult to relate to the person looking back at you in the mirror.

We have some amazing role models for midlife and beyond:

  • Helen Mirren
  • Susan Sarandon
  • Diane Keaton
  • Meryl Streep
  • Halle Berry

And many more. Some say that 40 is the new 30!

There are so many ways to boost confidence levels.  From the best in skin care regimens and products, to very discreet cosmetic surgery that is not obvious. Fabulous choices of exercise, or even machines that report doing it for you!

One of the best things to work with first and foremost is your mindset. Aging is an inevitable part of life, unavoidable and guaranteed.  The way you handle it and deal with it is entirely your choice.

Instead of focusing on perceived flaws, why not focus on all of the parts that you do like and accentuate those.

Are you comparing yourself with models in the media or in films?  Remember that there is a lot of airbrushing and retouching that goes on in photographs and movies.  The picture you see may not necessarily be true.

It is sad that for some women it all becomes too much and they “give up” on themselves and cease to care about their self-care or in taking care of their health needs.  Ladies: you are worth it; you are beautiful in your own unique and special way.

pedicure

When was the last time you had a manicure or pedicure?

When was the last time you bought lovely matching underwear?

Are your legs and armpits smooth today?

Are you removing facial hair or leaving it a few days late?

When did you last visit the dentist?

When was the last time you restyled your hair?

The answers to these questions may nudge you into making some changes that may lift your confidence levels and encourage you to take more care of yourself.

On a scale of 1 being very little and 10 being highly confident, which number are you?

Here are 10 tips to help move you towards better confidence today:

  1. Stand tall, be aware of your posture and slouching
  2. Stay on top of your personal grooming
  3. Schedule your grooming appointments months in advance
  4. List your achievements in life and acknowledge them
  5. Accept compliments with a sincere thank you
  6. Be aware of your own negative self-talk and self-criticism and stop
  7. Start to say “yes” to what you do want and “no” to what you don’t
  8. Know your weaknesses and resolve to become more competent in those areas
  9. Set small goals and achieve them, then begin to set bigger ones
  10. Choose not sit in your problem. Find solutions and support

If you have enjoyed this Blog and would like to learn more about how the Flourish Beyond 40 Programme or Supercharge Your Confidence Module can help you, just head over to the shop and peruse the many options available for you.

Have a wonderful day.

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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Midlife

Stress Management and Feeling More Relaxed

Stress is something that we all need to be aware of a feeling that is almost unavoidable. Life is so busy these days and for many high stress levels become a normal and natural feeling.

For many people a typical day begins with an unhealthy breakfast snatched quickly on the way to work.  Time spent trawling hundreds of emails or dealing with Social Media.  Add in to that mix responsibilities of home and family commitments and a long commute.  No wonder stress levels are high.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it” – Sydney J. Harris

It is almost impossible to avoid stress impacting your life.  The most important thing we can do for ourselves is learning to recognise when those stress levels are rising and how to manage stress to live life in a more peaceful way.

There are so many tools and solutions available to help handle stress levels, and small steps may make a big difference as to how you feel, but it is not one-size-fits-all.  What works for one person does not necessarily work for all.  Why not start to implement  new stress management techniques each week, try it on for size, see how it feels, then try another.  You will know what works for you personally.

One of the best gifts to give yourself is to learn what your stress triggers are, and to deal with these effectively and well without allowing your stress levels to rise to dangerous health-damaging levels.

Here are some tips that you can apply immediately to your life:

  • Stop multitasking. Focus on doing what one thing at a time, and keep your mind focused solely on that. If you really need to multi-task then set out a specific time in your day to do so, perhaps for an hour and get it over and done with. Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen Master,told his students “when reading only read. When eating, only eat.  When thinking, only think.  Embracing mindfulness, staying present and living in the moment you are in is a great way to move you away from the ‘busyness’ of life.
  • Make a habit of writing things down. Quite often when your mind is “over full” it is easy to forget important things.  As you do this you no longer have to constantly worry about something you feel you may have forgotten.
  • If you are fond of writing to do lists, then keep them suitably short and realistic. Looking at a long list of things to complete increases stress which is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
  • Prioritise what needs to be done immediately and what can be done at another time.
  • Organise yourself well. More often than not you will know what you will be doing the next day.  Make sure your clothes are ironed and ready to wear.  Have your breakfast dishes on the table. Leave everything you need out and ready just before leaving the house such as car keys, handbag, umbrella, scarf and gloves.  Have your shoes ready at the door.  A lot of stress is created in the morning as people rush around looking for things they cannot find.
  • Wake up fifteen minutes earlier so that you can take your time in a more peaceful way.
  • If you work from home it is important that you take small breaks throughout the day, particularly if you are working at your computer. A balance of 45 minutes work and 15 minutes away helps to keep your energy levels up and your mind clear.
  • Ensure that your work and rest time is balanced.
  • Engage and communicate properly with your loved ones in your time off. Listen to what they have to say, enjoy your time spent with them.  Completely disconnect from work. If you can, put your phone on silent when you are off work.  Be present with those that are important to you.  Spending time thinking about work while with loved ones is both unfair and unnecessary.
  • Delegate as much as you can whenever you can, so that you have more time to do the things that you love.
  • Keep your environment clutter free. Keep a Zen-like space to allow fresh energy to continue to flow, keeping your mind away from distractions.
  • Turn down the noise of Social Media. How many times do you find yourself checking the newsfeed on Facebook only to find that you are still on it half an hour later?  Are you caught up in being oversubscribed to podcasts, blogs newsletters, webinars and so on? This can be very stressful indeed.  Start to unsubscribe to anything that is no longer useful to you or your goals. Doing this frees up your time to spend doing things that have more value and enjoyment.
  • Stay tuned into your body. Be aware of aches, pains and uncomfortable niggles.  Stress also presents itself as physical symptoms.  Learn to recognize when you are starting to feel drained and tired before you become exhausted and fatigued.  Take time to take care of you and your needs.
  • It is okay to be perfectly imperfect. Does perfection really exist?  It is a different concept for everyone.  Do your best and move on. When you need help do not be afraid to ask for it.
  • Have someone you can trust to talk to. It is a true saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
  • Breathe properly. When people are stressed they have a tendency to shallow-breathe from the chest.  Take a few deep breaths from the belly, breathing in relaxation and breathing out stress.

 

Keep yourself on track by asking yourself the following key questions:

  1. Is what I am doing moving me towards my goals or away from them?
  2. For what purpose am I choosing to think/be/behave this way?
  3. What can I do right now that is more important?
  4. Will this really matter one year, five years, 10 years from now?

 

S.E.E. the three simple fundamentals of keeping stress at bay:

  • Sleep enough
  • Eat well
  • Exercise regularlyIMG_3197

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, why not download the free relaxation recording we have available on www.flourishbeyond40.com.

If you want to learn more about stress and some excellent strategies, techniques and solutions to help you in life, then why not download our Managing Stress Module, packed with wonderful helpful information to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

Have a fabulous stress free day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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