Holding Joy and Grief
January 22, 2021
Courtesy PR Extension Office
Pandemic fatigue is real, yet there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As the new year begins, it may be important to seek joy and make space for the grief that many of us have felt throughout the pandemic according to Michele Crawford, Illinois Extension Educator.
Collectively, we tend to ignore painful feelings. When asked “How are you?”, we respond with “fine” when we aren’t feeling fine. During the past nine months, we have come to ask, “How are you?” with a bit more intention, maybe even followed by “Really, how are you doing?”
Experiment with holding both the joy and the grief explains Crawford. Exposing the grief leaves us vulnerable. It’s not easy. If we want to continue to feel positive emotions, we must also feel the challenging emotions.
Try the following:
• Journal – Write about things that bring joy and those that bring feelings of grief.
• Guided Meditation– Find a comfortable seat. Place your hands on your knees. Take a few calming breaths. Turn your left palm up and begin to picture in your mind a positive force in your life. It might be a friend or family member. Notice the sensations on the left side of your body as you feel the support from this loving presence. When ready, place the left palm face down and turn the right palm up. Think about a relationship or memory that is a source of grief or sorrow. Without judgement, feel the sensations on the right side of your body. If this becomes difficult, remind yourself that you are safe, and that this feeling will pass. When ready, return the right palm back down to the knee. Feel the groundedness and stability of both hands-on top of your knees. Lastly, turn both palms upward at the same time. Picture the positive force on the left, and the feelings of grief on the right. Stay curious as you welcome both. Trust that you can hold space in your body and mind for both joy and sorrow. Bring both hands together in front of the heart as you release all images from the mind and take a few deep, calming breaths.
• Talk with a friend, family member or therapist. You don’t have to do this alone. If you need someone to talk to check out the NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
MSU Extension – Powder River maintains a Wellness website and the Wellness Weekly with a variety of local and state resources. Check them out today: https://powderriver.msu extension.org/MentalHealthAwareness.html.