2020; a Year of Mourning

Many people think of grief as something you go through when someone you know dies. While this concept has validity, grief encompasses so much more than a loss of life. I define grief as a point in time where something significantly changes, and you view it as a divide. What once was, and now the present.

It’s safe to say 2020 has been a year of mourning for all of us. The pandemic certainly brought a divide, along with ambiguous grief. The feeling of uncertainty is quite unsettling. We may be fearful of our health, our jobs, our social health, our friends, our loved small businesses closing, certain industries being strained, etc. Closing, re-opening, “dialing back”, are all phrases we are too familiar with, along with the phrase “unprecedented time”. This season of life we are in is ever changing our and evolving. “New normal” is a phrase that has stigma as well. I heard opinions say they reject the idea this is the new normal and are waiting for things to go back to what once was. The reality is, we may never go back to what once was. It is on us to accept the time it is as now, and try to move forward each day. Whether it is day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute.

Not only has the pandemic brought a divide, the tragedy of George Floyd has certainly brought a season of mourning.

To tie it up into a pretty bow, we had our most significant election yet.

2020 has brought a season of significant changes that will be documented in history books. That has been something I’ve been pondering recently, how 2020 will be transcribed and taught to future generations. What as a society are we learning from this?

I think the biggest thing I’m learning is how to cope with grief. I’d like to admit that I’m an expert on grief as it relates to my own personal life. I have lost many loved ones, and have had a significant amount of large life changes, specific to 2020. I rented my condo and moved to Raleigh, I lost my aunt to a tragic heart attack (and was unable to attend her funeral due to the pandemic), I quit my full time job, I chose to dissolve my long term relationship, I moved back home to Minnesota, I got a job as a server as soon as I got home, and now with the shutdown I am not employed there currently.

2020 has been a year. For everyone, not just me. I think we all can relate to the struggle 2020 has brought to all of us. The uncertainty, the mourning and loss, the pain. We are all in it, we all feel it.

So what can we do about it? This is a time where we need to unify and come together, instead of pointing fingers. If we take a step back, we may realize we are not so different after all. We are all human, we make mistakes, we have emotions, and everything you may be feeling about 2020, has validity.

I wish I could say at the stroke of midnight on December 31st all our problems would be taken care of. Since we know that isn’t the case, here are some of my personal tips for coping with grief that work for me.

  • Have real, meaningful conversations with trusted individuals about your feelings. Make sure you trust this individual to validate your emotions and truly listen to you, rather than jumping to conclusions trying to “fix” a problem.
  • Set boundaries with others. Grief can drain you, so energy conservation is vital. A simple “that makes me uncomfortable,” or “I don’t have the (time, space, capacity, etc.) to discuss that right now” works well.
  • Take care of yourself. Seek movement each day. Don’t get hung up on setting extremes where you must be on a strict diet or training regime. Your energy may be low and setting too strict or high of plans could set you up for failure, and may result in low self esteem.
  • Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. At meal times breathe slowly, practice gratitude, and chew each bite thoroughly.
  • Seek an activity that ignites your sense of “play”. This is hard due to circumstances now, but play can be found in coloring or doing something creative, reading a fun book, playing a game with a family member or friend, getting creative in the kitchen, doing a project, etc. Find something you enjoy doing, and relish in that feeling.
  • Ground yourself. This means practice being present in the moment. Breath work is great for this. If yoga is feels good, try that. A friend recently suggested a really great way to implement a new habit of grounding yourself if it isn’t something your used to. He asserted a way to make a new habit stick, is to apply it to one that’s already there. For example, ground yourself while brushing your teeth. Focus directly on teeth brushing, or maybe listen to a specific song you enjoy, or try repeating positive affirmations in your head. The act is do something intentional each day that reminds you that you are here, and the time is now.

I hope you find value in my tips, and am very grateful that you have read my post. Feel free to leave a comment on any tips that you’ve tried that works well for you. I know I will use all the advice I can get considering the year I’ve had!

Love, light, warmth, and positive vibes,

Annie

P.S. Looking for some accountability, a trusted health professional, and a cheerleader for your health and fitness goals? Schedule a FREE discovery call that works for your time and schedule using the button on my services page!

How Fear is Your Most Powerful Emotion

Often times, fear can be such a debilitating emotion.  It can harbor us from doing so many things.  It can keep us in bed instead of experience life and joy to its fullest.  It can keep us in our shells instead of flourishing into the greatness that we all have inside of us.

So let me ask you this, how much does fear control your life?  Do you let fear get in the way of achieving greatness?  Today, I am here to talk about how you can harness such a powerful emotion, into something positive.  Fear can be a catalyst.  It starts a ripple in your ocean of thoughts.  Do you let that ripple expand and smooth out, or do you welcome the violent rain storm and send your mind spinning down into a hurricane?

fear

I have a few stories to share about how fear has shaped my life personally, and how that emotion has impacted those around me.  My first story to share is about my Grandfather.  I am sorry to report he is not doing well.  He was refusing a pacemaker last week and gave up the will to live.  His pastor stopped by the hospital and asked him a few questions.  She asked if he was afraid of dying, and initially, he reported that he was not afraid of dying and he was ready.  Then she asked him, “So what are you really afraid of then?”  He replied, “Well… I guess the anesthesia”.  To give a little background, his wife, my Grandmother, went under general anesthesia twice in a very close proximity.  This resulted in detrimental effects on her mental health, and ultimately she passed away spring time of last year.  When my Grandfather was under the impression he wanted to die, he told my Dad, “When a spouse dies, typically the other spouse goes in a year….Man, I do not have much time left”.

At this point, the pastor knew the background of the anesthesia with my Grandmother and then pointed out to my Grandfather, “So you are afraid of dying from the anesthesia then?” Then, my Grandfather responded matter-of-factly, “Well, yeah!” “So you do want a pacemaker then?” “Well yeah put one of those things in me”.

It was just like that.  The pastor was able to find his fear, and harness it for positivity.  She was able to change his heart and uncover his true will to live.

Many people are afraid of failure, rejection, public speaking, heights, clowns, etc.  Fear that I struggle with is failure.  I am very competitive in nature, and I want to do the best I possible can do.  I am a high performer, and if I know I didn’t follow through with something, or I fail, this is something that will get to me.  Fear, is actually the reason why I didn’t want to compete in a body building show for the past two years.  I witnessed my roommate compete in shows, and I didn’t understand how the judging worked.  Everything seemed so subjective to me.  I feared putting in so much time and effort, and not even making “call backs” or whatever the second level is truly called.

This year, I changed my definition of success, I am not judging my success on obtaining a trophy or a place in the show.  Success for me will be my journey, becoming the best I have ever been, and adhering diligently to the plan my coach lays out.  My fear has been harnessed to push me into my next level of excellence in fitness.  I cannot put into words how excited I am for this, and I am excited that I am doing this, solely for me.  I often find I put so much time and effort into pleasing or doing things for others.  I have to truly work at and ensure I book time for my own self care.

I’ll end with the last story I have about fear.  Early on in my life, I would say around the time I was in middle school, I was talking to my Father about something that scared me.  I honestly remember this moment so vividly, it was a very pivotal part in my way of thinking.  I was riding in his pick-up truck, explaining how I was afraid of doing something. With the most confident voice he could ever have, he said to me, “Anne, you can do anything you put your mind to”.

(Yes, I asked to be called Anne from age 10-27, and still do in the professional world; I’ll write about that in another post).

I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.

My Dad has been my biggest cheerleader and motivator throughout my life.  At that moment he told me that, something clicked.  I honestly believed him.  I thought, “Yes, I am a Rathman, I can do anything”.  When fear comes creeping in, the moment I am thinking, “I can’t”, I hear my Dad, “Yes, you can”.  Fear is deep, but if you dig deep down and harness it, you can use that emotion to slingshot you into something you may never thought you could do before.

I’ll close with this final thought.  Please use your most powerful emotion as a catalyst for positivity.  You will surprise yourself of what you are capable of.