Grief is a funny thing. We all have experienced it, we’ve all been through it. No one is immune to loss; yet it’s not something we readily talk about. We rarely discuss how it makes us feel or how it manifests for us. Maybe because it is such a personal journey, maybe we cannot find the words, or maybe we are afraid no one wants to listen. Science tells us that there are 5 stages that we pass through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross). But it isn’t a straight trajectory by any means; it’s multi-layered and messy. We bounce back and forth between the stages and sometimes we get stuck in one area or another; everyone processes grief and loss differently. Okay you say, that all makes sense, but what does it really look like?
Well, recently my family and I passed through the third anniversary of losing our loved ones. Yes, you read that right, we lost two precious family members in one single day. This year was a little less tear filled than previous ones, but still significant enough that we all, in a totally unconscious, undiscussed way, dressed up in our best clothes and treated each other with the utmost of care and consideration. The kids washed and brushed and tidied themselves without being reminded. We all hugged each other a little closer and our smiles for each other were a little tighter than normal. The day was bright and sunny, just like the day they left us. Everywhere were reminders of them and it was definitely emotional and draining. I found myself outwardly doing the things I needed to do and putting on a brave face for the world, but inside was a mishmash of thoughts and feelings and memories as the day progressed. Interestingly, I came across two articles about grief and loss that day that really hit home with me. Both of these articles do an amazing job at explaining grief. Written with beauty and love and wit and obvious experience, these two different perspectives give an emotional, raw voice to grief.
The first one reminded me of that there is still beauty tied up with grief and it gave a powerful explanation of what it feels like. Love doesn’t die, nor does grief, it just takes another form read more.
The other is from the perspective of a parent losing a child, but is written in such a moving and simplistic way that it would be useful to help explain grief and loss to children. read more
Grief is a part of life, we cannot escape it. But we can embrace it, and with it, honour all of our lost loves.
Have you ever seen an older adult doing something fun, looking vibrant and being active? What is the first thing that crosses your mind? Is it thoughts like: that looks odd; or, never thought an older adult could do that; or funny, I never knew an older adult could have so much fun; or, Wow! I want to be that fit, active, vibrant when I am that age?
Regardless of your thoughts, it is interesting to listen to your inner dialogue. Your inner voice will tell you a lot about how you perceive aging, activity and having fun. Positive perceptions of aging will inspire some folks to change their lifestyle in a positive way by watching older adults. Others will have their lifestyle and activity affirmed, as they believe, their current activity level will keep them physically well and having fun as they grow older. Many may not even consider what is required to have daily fun, and to look and feel, physically well.
Listening to the inner voice and creating an inner dialogue with yourself about how you would like to grow older is a positive step towards healthy aging. Do you remember, as a child, having an imaginary friend, whom you talked and played with … as adults we often forget to imagine, dream and communicate with oneself. Entering the “playground” as an adult is an important step towards positive mental, emotional and physical well-being. Applying a positive perception to growing older and seeking out fun activities and creating your own personal playground will create a resilient attitude towards adversity and will promote positive mental health strategies, for life long health.
Here is a video that inspires me and reminds me how to be creative, have fun and to “Never Leave the Playground”
We all know that we need to eat more fruit and vegetables but how do we make this happen? The Provincial Health Officer’s Annual Report 2005 called Food, Health and Well-Being in British Columbia has the following suggestions:
Eating at least 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits a day may be the single most important food change most British Columbians can make to improve their health. Some simple ways to do this are:
The Provincial Health Officer’s Annual Report 2005 called Food, Health and Well-Being in British Columbia has a great description of what healthy diets have in common. The report states the following:
Many healthy diets share similar features. Recent research has aﬃrmed the traditional Mediterranean diet as one of the ideal styles of eating to promote longevity and a range of health beneﬁts, particularly the prevention of heart disease and a decreased risk of a variety of cancers (Hu, 2003; Trichopoulou, Costacou, Bamia, & Trichopoulos, 2003; Singh et al., 2002).
The traditional Mediterranean diet features:
This diet—high in ﬁbre, low in saturated (animal) fat and trans fats—is very similar to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and to the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. With a minimum of processed foods and an abundance of grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, these diets provide a healthy, well-balanced way of eating and are also satisfying to most palates.