Just before I kiss my daughter goodnight is when she tends to spill her guts to me.
Last night, she asked if she could play with her cousin this weekend. I said that we're going to do a video call with the whole family in the next couple of days.
She burst into tears.
On the surface, my seven-year-old has seemed pretty adaptable and cheerful with the life changes over the last few weeks, but underneath it all, she's really sad.
If you're feeling sad right now, I'll tell you what I told her, I feel sad right now too. And, it's okay to feel sad.
Collectively, we've experienced a lot of loss over the last few weeks.
I find myself missing the simple, normal, routines in life, like walking my daughter to the bus, working out at the gym, and strolling down the aisles of the grocery store.
I miss hugging my parents, going out to eat, and taking my girls to the playground.
All of these things represent life as I knew it. And, right now, that life is gone. And, my guess is that right now you feel like your "old life" is gone too. So, if you're feeling sad, it's because we're naturally grieving a major loss in our lives right now.
It's OKAY to feel sad and grieve the losses you've experienced. Going into the sadness and allowing yourself to feel it doesn't mean that you'll get stuck in the emotion and be unable to function. The emotion wants to move through you.
In our culture, we often avoid feeling emotion because we judge it, believe we don't have time for it, or fear losing control. Many of us were taught, with good intentions, to stuff our emotions.
But, the funny thing about emotion is that it doesn't go anywhere just because it's being avoided. It just hunkers down, waiting for an opportunity to be felt. Ever experienced an outburst that seemed out of nowhere? That was probably hunkered-down emotion that spotted an opportunity and surfaced.
Instead of avoiding sadness (or any other emotion), allow yourself to feel it. If you don't know where to begin, it's okay. Here are a few tips:
1) Give yourself permission. You're human. And feeling emotion is part of this whole wild ride of the human experience. It's okay to feel whatever you're feeling right now. If you feel angry, worried, or impatient -- it's okay.
2) Don't judge what you're feeling. Would you judge a little girl for feeling sad about missing her grandparents? No, you wouldn't. And there's no difference between her and you. She's human. You're human. She just hasn't been influenced by culture to avoid her emotions. Practice nonjudgment for yourself as you do for others.
3) Spill your guts to someone. Think of someone who can simply listen to you with compassion. If you don't know anyone who can do that right now, reach out to a coach. I'm opening up more client spaces and offering single-sessions right now to support people through this time, and a lot of other coaches are too.
4) Try to catch emotion arising and find a space where you feel safe to let it surface. It could be stepping away and hiding in a closet. Or, going for a drive while listening to Adele. Find a space where you can allow your emotions to be felt.
5) Be KIND to yourself. Sometimes, feeling a lot of emotion can suck. Afterward, you might feel like you have an emotional hangover, and the only thing that makes it worse is self-judgment. Other times, it can feel like the best shower of your life. Either way, find the part of you that is so wise, kind and compassionate and direct that sweetness toward yourself. Say to yourself, "You're okay. You're okay."
Grieving is not a linear process. It often feels more cyclical. But as you allow the cycles to come, be felt, move through, feel better, come again, be felt, move through, etc, you'll heal faster, store less and experience more Ease.
PS: I'm opening three additional 1-1 client spaces to help you with stress and overwhelm, or to strategize your business during this turbulent time. Sign up for a Complimentary Discovery Coaching Session here. Or, if you'd rather meet right away for a 90-min Ease Strategy Session, sign up here.