by Jan McDaniel
With many people now able to travel after a long year of pandemic-related isolation, the adjustment may be unsettling. Businesses are reopening; jobs are being filled. Things are changing again. Whether you look forward to life returning to "normal" or resent the fact that your loss prevents you from getting back to the way things were, think about each step to make going back to the office or sending the kids back to in-person classes go as smoothly as possible.
Use a notebook and calendar to write down where you need to be at what time. Make lists for menus and grocery trips. Accept only those responsibilities you must or want to complete. Think about the needs of your family members. Budget your time as well as your money and energy.
The best plans may not always be enough. Unexpected stress often makes change necessary. Knowing this helps. Try self-talk to keep your mind focused on something that can help, a quote or song that keeps you motivated, a pep-talk, or the most important truth of all: you can do this.
Even survivors who have done a lot of healing and griefwork sometimes feel "thrown" back to earlier days. That is normal. Reach out for support when you need it. Make an appointment with a friend or your counselor. Talk to your doctor. Find a group whose members understand loss.
Put yourself on your "Care" list. Your needs are important. Get enough rest. Take time to eat, hydrate, and exercise. Spend a few minutes on a calming technique: listening to music, meditating, practicing yoga. The things that help you relax are also the things that provide the energy you will need for the days ahead.
Maybe you are uncertain about taking that trip or visiting relatives or friends. Pack your essential self-care tools (things that have worked for you in the past) and schedule time for yourself during your stay. Being prepared (cell phone charger, directions, tickets, snacks, water, medications, emergency numbers) really do make a difference in your ability to handle a return to things you did in the past.
Practice safety measures while you travel including wearing masks and social distancing where required. Try a solo adventure or bring a trusted friend along. With your escape plan (what you will do if you feel overwhelmed) in hand, you are ready.
A change of scenery can do you good.
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
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Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: