Getting Through It
It has been two years since I lost my husband, Derek, after a short 8 years of marriage. Even today, people still pull me aside, shake their heads, and ask me how did I ever manage to get through it? Sometimes I look back and wonder that myself. When I see what I had to endure, I realize how much we can test our core and, incredibly, make it through with a sense of ease and grace. I’d like to share the following:
I listen, and I trust my core. I remember in those first moments at the hospital, when waves of shock and disbelief hit my body, I’d go back to my fundamental training as an athlete. It’s mindfulness meditation and practice. This part helped (and continues to help now) all of the shock, trauma, PTSD, grief, and sadness waves that flood your mind, body, and soul.
Using Mindfulness Techniques
As a Mindfulness Facilitator and trainer, I know it can be tough to develop those patterns of mindfulness training, especially in those darkest of times. So here are five steps to guide you as you get started:
- Pick a time: This can be 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 15 minutes out of your daily routine. It does not have to be for long at all. It’s important to celebrate the fact that you are willing to take a “time-out” for yourself. Self-care is important.
- Settle into space: choose a place in which you feel entirely conformable. This space can be on your bed, or a yoga mat, or even a comfy chair you tend to gravitate toward. Ideally, space should be clear from any distractions (including your cell phone).
- Relax: Close your eyes, or keep them open but try and relax those eyelids.
- Check-In: Notice how you are thinking, feeling, breathing, in the moment. Notice any tightness of muscles, not to judge yourself but be aware of your body.
- Breathe: Inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Repeat for the duration of the time you have allocated. Remember this is time set-aside for yourself.
As you continue with this practice over time, you will see how mind-to-muscle memory will become a lot easier. This is the basis for fundamental training. Whenever I feel grief waves slowly surfacing, or if I witness a helicopter airlifting a victim to the nearest hospital, which triggers my PTSD, I go back to these basics, and it helps those waves move through my body in a healthier, more manageable way.