Dealing with Stress and Grief

Mrs. - posted on 01/22/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My family has had a fare share of tragedy this holiday and in the last couple months. It seems as I reach my mid thirties, there has been an increase in deaths in the family, financial stress, loved ones who are gravely ill and challenges that go beyond the norm.



So I'm wondering, outside of therapy (which I do attend), what do you do to deal with grief and stress? How do you cope with your responsibilities as a mother, partner and any other important roles you have (like work, etc) and still deal with these kind of challenges? I'm struggling to keep my head above water and would love some new ideas?

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Lyssa - posted on 01/24/2012

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i've been battling ppd and ppa for almost a year now, and have a hard time handling any kind of stress. and the last 2 years have been filled with a lot of heartache anyway, as in your case. i find one thing that really helps for me is journaling, especially when i'm very upset/angry/frustrated, etc. taking walks as suggested is also helpful, or just excercise in general, as it releases endorphins. i know therapy has also been a big help for me as well, but have you considered a low dose of medication to help balance your hormones? a lot of people hate the thought of taking meds, but just a low dose may be just enough to help you through these tough times. i wish you the best of luck!

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2012

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I read them all carefully and tried to take something from all of them.



Thanks Mary, for reminding me that the last big personal loss I had, outside of my husband's grandmother's suicide last year, (the breakup of my 8 year relationship to be specific) I leaned heavily on walks with my dog. My dog was always with me and I would walk for hours with her. It is a healthy way to deal with stress and grief that I had forgotten about.



So, today when my husband took my daughter to the store, I went to the gym, came back and spent a good long time having alone time with my dog. It was really nice and I think good for her too. She tends to be more high strung and anxious when things aren't going well in the house - just like my daughter gets.



I also forced myself to do some of my guided meditation stuff. I have a bunch of album that an old therapist had me work with when my chronic pain and stress levels got bad. I just tend to want to trash it all when things get rough because the grief is so overwhelming, it is hard to let go to help myself.



I know someone else mentioned using a passion as an outlet. I have a lot of passions, but since so many of them have turned into work - I tend to run from them for fear I will make something really crappy and self indulgent. However, I know that's not the point, the point is to just write, compose or whatever it is that you enjoy, to get a cathartic release from it...and bugger the end product.



Thanks again ladies for all your advice. I'm at least trying to focus on trying some of the things than just wallowing in it all.



Keep it coming, if you are so inclined.

Rosie - posted on 01/23/2012

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i read an article recently about relieving stress, because my life with my oldest child seems to revolve around it, and it is helping me deal with it. http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_manag...

i especially like the advice of #4 - accept the things that you can't change. i can't change my child and his actions, so i HAVE to accept it.



i also am going to start trying to meditate. not sure how, so i'll have to look that up too, but i need to free my mind of the jargin in there and get moving on with my life. :)

Mary - posted on 01/23/2012

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My dogs have always been my safety net during my most challenging times in life. When overly stressed or heartbroken, their simple, uncomplicated, and unconditional love are balm to my soul.



When I learned of my first pregnancy loss, all I wanted, and needed, was to get home, and howl and cry into my pillow, with the comfort of their soft warm bodies beside me. I spent the rest of that day snuggling them. The ask no questions, nor do they seek any reassurances that I am "ok". They do not judge nor offer any unsolicited or unwanted "advice". They will listen patiently while I pour out my heart, and stay by my side no matter what.



The other thing I do is walk the hell out of them. After my mother died unexpectedly, I walked those two for hours everyday. At times, it was just mindless wandering. I did nothing more than concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other - and would often look up and be surprised at where we had ended up. Other times, I would talk their ears off. It helped me to be able to say aloud much of what I was feeling to my always receptive and never contradictory audience. As well, the fresh air and natural endorphins just helped to boost my overall mental state. My daughter was 18 months when my mom died, so many of these walks included her in the ergo. She has always been rather content in that, and if I timed it right, that natural rocking motion would lull her to sleep, so that I really felt like I had that time to myself. Some days, I would wait for the hubby to get home, and bolt out the door with my boys the second he picked her up to say hello. I took a while, but I really am not exaggerating when I say I walked myself out of my grief, with my dogs by my side.

[deleted account]

Writing in a diary can help too. Just writing down thoughts and feeling can be quite therapeutic. Pour it all out onto paper and then put it away, if you have very negative thoughts then write them down on a piece of paper and then destroy it, focussing more on the destruction of the negative feeling you have written.

Stifler's - posted on 01/22/2012

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Cull the junk in my house. Feels good to chuck things in the bin or trailer and then they go to the dump. It's very de stressing.

Becky - posted on 01/22/2012

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I am sorry things have been so rough these past few months.

I haven't had to deal with a whole lot of grief recently, but some stress. I know this sounds cliche, but I find that focussing on the positives and the things I have to be thankful for helps me. I know this is minor in comparison, but this past week, my husband had pneumonia and was laid up all week and the boys were both miserable with stomach bugs, and I was 37 weeks pregnant and afraid I'd go into labor while everyone was pukin and coughing. I admit, for a good chunk of the week, I didn't handle it very well. But by yesterday, I finally got to the place where I realized, 6 short years ago, I never thought I'd have all this. I had pretty much given up on being married and having kids and now here I am, married, with 2 adorable boys and another arriving very soon. Even though everyone being sick the past week royally sucked, I have to be thankful that I even have a family to take care of. Yesterday was a much better day thanks to remembering that!

Aside from that, I think having a hobby and making time for yourself to do things you really want to do are very important too. If I have a couple of days between everyone being sick and popping out this baby, I'm going to get a haircut. :)

Thinking of you!

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I don't think about the bad stuff. My therapist says this isn't healthy long-term, you eventually have to deal with it, but it helps me to get through the day to day until I can deal with it. I am assuming, since you said you attend therapy, that your therapist will help you actually deal, and you just need some coping mechanisms to get you through until therapy day.



When a stressful or sad thought enters my mind, I simply push it away and find something else to focus on. I find burying myself in work very helpful--I don't work outside the home, but there are always volunteer opportunities if you need something to take your mind off things. Other times I bury myself in a book, or just sleep it off. I try to avoid alcohol because, while it does make things feel better while I'm intoxicated, I have a very deep, deep depression after that is often harder to deal with than the thing I was running from in the first place.

Hope - posted on 01/22/2012

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I feel for you so much. 2011 was the hardest year I have ever had, full of grief and stress. I felt like my world was falling apart and I had no way of stopping it from happening. Like you I started seeing a therapist but on top of that I needed to start making time for me.

A trip to shops by myself, a night out with a girlfriend talking. I also lost purpose, yes I was a mum and wife by that was it. So a have started working again , I am fortunate enough that i set my own hours. I am now rediscovering who I am outside of being a mum and wife.

Did all those horrible things still happen last year yes but I can't change that, all I can do is except it and be grateful for all the good times.

[deleted account]

Grief hasn't been a big thing in my life so I can't help you there, but the stress I do suffer with. When I feel the stress is too much I actually like to book myself a relaxation massage with a professional massage therapist. It helps to relax my body and mind so I can start to think straight again. Other little things I do for myself is to have a coffee date with a friend who understands what ever I'm going through at the time. Just an hour or so to talk and share thoughts. It helps a lot.The other big thing I do for myself (and this is MY thing), I get on my horse and go for a ride on my own just to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Do you have a passion that you can focus on when the world gets too much for you?

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