Dear grieving parents,
I have always admired you. Grieving while parenting means your days are filled with waves of sorrow, moments of unexpected joy and endless other emotions that sneak up on you out of nowhere, all while care giving for humans who depend on you.
You take it day by day, moment by moment, and as your day ends, you find yourself either suddenly asleep sitting on the couch, or in bed, staring up at your ceiling, exhausted but unable to sleep. And more than likely, you aren’t alone in this bed. Your kids, maybe your teens, have slowly found their way back to sleeping with you. And even though you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you do. I see it on your kids’ faces; they feel safe and loved-the two greatest gifts you can give to a grieving young person.
Grief is the new part, but you know how to parent. I have always admired you. Now, watching you do all this in the midst of a pandemic, my admiration has exploded to a new level.
Finding moments to self-care may sound like an impossible task right now. So, let’s start small. Because you deserve it. Grieving is hard work. It’s hard on your mind, yes, but also on your body. The old “put the oxygen on yourself first” airplane approach may be overplayed, but it holds immense truth. You simply cannot do for others when you are empty. And those kids do need you. So let’s fill up a bit.
I said small and that can mean 1 minute if that’s all you have. Maybe it’s 5. I hope it’s 15. But give yourself what you can right now.
Jill’s Quick Check-In Yoga Script:
I invite you to find a wall, lay down on your back with your legs resting up on the wall. Many people find this most relaxing lying in bed, legs up the wall or headboard.
Breathe deep. Try to exhale longer than you inhale.
In this moment, everything is okay.
If you feel discomfort in any part of your body, grab a pillow or blanket to minimize any negative sensations.
Now, check-in with your senses.
Sight: What are the things you can see. Move only your eyes, with your body in stillness. Try to identify at least 5 things. Name them aloud or silently in your mind.
Touch: In this stillness, what can you feel with your body? Notice how the ground, maybe your bed, is completely supporting you in this moment. What else can you feel?
Hearing: What are all the things you can hear from this place of rest?
Smell: Bonus points if you turned the essential oil diffuser on or lit that lavender candle before you got started!
Taste: Maybe the last thing you ate or drank?
*If your kids walk in at any point, I encourage you to continue what you’re doing. You are modeling the importance of taking time to be calm and grounded. Try not to engage too much, just keep doing what you’re doing. Invite them to join! But they have to follow the same rules. The only talking is to say what we notice. And if they leave because they feel bored or restless…then back to you time!
With deep respect,
Jill Thorson, LCSW, RYT