Do you make time for grief? Giving yourself time and space... and by that I mean a specific time and space. I've found that it helps so much in the grieving process!
When Claire died in 2013 I found myself struggling to focus on work, family and running the house. I was always fighting off the urge to fall apart, continuously struggling with being alert and focused.
It was all rather tiring.
Someone then asked me if I had ever fallen into a complete rage, or collapsed on the floor crying and wailing for hours?
"Of course not", I replied, I have a family, a business. and a house to run.
"Well perhaps you should" came the reply. And that set me thinking.
Why was I fighting and struggling? Why didn't I just give myself time to collapse and fall apart?
I am fortunate in that I run my own business from home and can decide my working hours, so from that day I decided I would only work a four day week, having Wednesdays as my day off.
Let me take a moment to define a day off.
A day off means there's no agenda, nothing to do that I don't want to. I do what I want, when I want.
I wake when I want.
I eat when I want.
If I choose to work then I will work, the emphasis has suddenly changed, it's about choice, if I want to work I will, if I don't then I won't.
As time passes and I find myself in the second year of having one day off per week I've noticed a few things.
People often say, "Hey, Mark it's your day off please could you run this errand for me?"
I've also noticed myself thinking, "It's my day off tomorrow, I'll go shopping, do the decorating or complete some other chore."
These two things are missing the point, it's not just a day off from work, it's a day off from having to hold things together.
If, on that one day I'm struggling then I can lie on the floor and cry all day.
If, on that one day I can't hold it together any more than I can go for a walk and scream at the top of my voice about how unfair life is.
It's liberating, it's freeing and above all its healing.
If, during my normal working week I'm struggling to keep things together I now only have to focus on my one day off, I only have to get through until Wednesday when I can fall apart. And that thought alone has often kept me going through the difficult times... Just looking forward to that time when I can be me and look after me.
I fully accept that not everyone can take a whole day, but how about an hour?
Could you find one hour each week that is yours? Yours to do what you want, to phone a friend if you want to, to work if you want to, to do the chores if you want to and, to fall apart if you want to?