Life is filled with defining moments that are opportunities to grow and it is important that we try to nurture ourselves through these changes.

There are many definitive moments in our lives that are opportunities to make changes in our lives.  Of course, we don’t see most of them as opportunities because we get so caught up in the negativity or emotional attachment we have to the situation or persons or creatures involved.  For me, death has crossed my path more than I’d or anyone, as a matter of fact, would like. From my dad’s aunt to my pup to Anthony Bourdain. Each having their own influence on my life and each a different thought process or impact on how I’ve come to terms with their absence.

I don’t know about you, but for me when I get the news there’s always a sunken feeling in my stomach and am immediately overwhelmed with sadness.  I try to quickly go through my rolodex of memories and remember the last time I saw them or last words spoken. Most recently I received word that another family member passed and at that moment I just happened to be out with my girlfriends catching up over drinks.  It was like a moment in the Matrix and sounds were muddled and all that was in front of me was the present. I stared at each of my friends, the smile on their faces and it was if everything around me was still in motion, but I was just an observer. This was the third death that hit close to home within the last two months.  Topped by the tragic and senseless loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I relinquish to the feelings of sadness, but the moment I feel slightly unsure of my path or the void sinks in I quickly resume my daily routine going back to square one.

Between everyday life responsibilities and just living our lives, we forget to make the time or to take a deeper look at the direction of our life — that is, until we are forced to by these definitive moments.  I strongly believe that it’s an opportunity to grow and maybe we don’t or can’t do it right at that moment and that’s ok. However, remember we are creatures of habit that more often than not find it easier to fall back on routine than taking the time to reflect and possibly make a change.  I find that my mind fills with thoughts that are all over the place, which leads to becoming overwhelmed and driven by anxiety because I can’t figure out where to start.

If this is you then know you are definitely not alone.  Here are 5 ways I’ve tried doing to calm and open my mind:

  1. Get Outside: Whether it’s a beach or park, just try taking a 15-minute walk or 30 minutes beachside and just observe.  Phone down, book or journal by your side and just listen to the sounds of the waves, rustle of the leaves or literally smell the flower.  You’re not trying to solve the meaning of life, but be present in that moment and appreciate just the simple things.
  2. Yoga / Meditation: yes everyone and their mother recommends this but there’s a reason why! Although you’re in a room filled with people you may or may not know- that time is all about you and allows you to get centered.  I’m not asking you to open your chakras, just asking you to take a moment to focus on you.
  3. Mini-retreat: doesn’t have to be 5 stars but a little getaway can help you escape what’s going on in your environment.  To be successful, you need to leave the stress, the worry and the pain behind, which is a difficult task depending on how difficult the situation you are in.  So, take a friend or loved one and hit the road jack! It can even be a coastal drive with small pit stops. Just remember to be present at the moment and enjoy.
  4. The Company You Keep: During challenging moments it’s important to surround yourself with level-headed, good spirited and kind-hearted people.  If you know you have a negative nancy in the group, then maybe it’s best to keep your distance from him/her for now.
  5. Treat Yourself: It’s more than just retail therapy, but about self-care.  Hanging out in the hammock or a little spa treatment or even hitting the gym.  Something that makes you feel healthy and nurtures you.

Remember the only thing constant is change.  Therefore, the more you expect that everything you are going through and the feeling is temporary the sooner you will heal.  Of course, dealing with death has its own challenges, but it is just as important that you don’t allow yourself to get carried away with your thoughts and feelings.  Go through the mourning process and in between try at least one of the five things listed above, but don’t settle into your daily routine when your head has begun to calm down.  Instead, take the time to reflect on the memories shared and experiences. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? Is this what I truly want?” If you need to forgive yourself or anyone else then do it.  

Also, drive into your mind and heart that change is not easy, but you have to start somewhere. You may be scared or nervous about not making the ‘right’ decision. None of us have 100% control over the outcome of any of our decisions or actions and that’s all part of life.  It isn’t so much about the result but more about how well we take care of ourselves and making ourselves more aware and present through the process. Remind yourself that these definitive moments are an opportunity to grow and we must nurture ourselves through these changes.  You’ll get there, trust me.

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Pegah Kamal

Author: Pegah Kamal

I’ve spent the last 15 years learning everything there is to know about digital marketing – from content strategy to user digital consumption habits across the social web. By day, you can find me strategizing on how to take drive business impact via the social web, editing content ed cals, or analyzing program performance. By night, I’m typically researching my next vacation or home décor project on Pinterest or getting taken away with new Snapchat filters.

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