It’s been a few months. You’ve gotten used to what seems to have become your new normal. You’ve hit your stride. Then, the tide rolls in. You’re brought back to the night your life changed forever and suddenly you can’t breathe.
I call this “the wave”.
Grief is an ocean of unpredictable emotions that tend to manifest whenever it feels like it. It’s the uninvited guest to any social event, business mixer, or in my case, the frozen isle at Trader Joes, smack dab between the cookie butter ice cream and frozen pizzas (Judge if you want, I don’t care).
Sometimes you can see the waves rolling out on the horizon, and you think they’re not close enough to hit you. Sometimes, you’re too caught up noticing the life on the beach behind you, and you hardly notice the water. By the time you feel it, you’re already submerged.
You can’t stop it, but you can manage it.
One of the grounding tactics that have been most effective for me when the wave hits is the “4,3,2,1” exercise:
Focus in on:
FOUR things you can see
THREE things you can hear
TWO things you can smell
ONE thing you can touch
As I work through this exercise, I list the things I can see, hear, smell, and touch out loud, even if I am alone. Once my breathing has regulated, I feel stable enough to call someone I trust, and try to dissect how I feel.
I am in no way offering professional mental health advice in any capacity—this is what works for me. I hope you find it helpful.
I wish you all love and peace as you weather your individual storms and ride out your waves.