ASK A GRIEF COACH
Question: How Do I Navigate the News, Too?
Answer: For now, maybe you don’t.
Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.
How are we supposed to handle all this death in the news lately? It’s too much on top of my own grief but I feel irresponsible not knowing what to say or what’s going on, or being quiet. I know there’s a lot to be said for making space for others when you know what grief is like, but I have no idea how that’s possible when I can hardly handle it by myself.
An Overwhelmed Global Citizen
You’re right — it is too much. And while it may feel irresponsible, you’re also in charge of your nervous system only to the extent that you honor and notice what it’s doing and what it needs.
With this question, you’re noticing the overload.
You are not responsible for the weight of the world, nor are you the leader of the country, expected to inform others of the correct opinion or plan of action.
Your nervous system, despite any privilege you may have or lack, deserves the ability to rest and digest. To reset with quiet nourishment. Watching the news cycle, or staying up to date on Facebook debates, is never going to inform you in a meaningful way. It’s going to continue to tax your system to the point of exhaustion.
Your cup is already leaking from grief. Being constantly engaged with the chaos of the world is not doing anything to refill the cup or repair the cracks.
Now it’s time to take your own grid offline. Grief intertwines with all kinds of triggers, bringing up the most painful memories when we least expect it.
As far as being a responsible global citizen, this might be a good season to ask questions of yourself around what marginalized communities may experience in seasons of trauma.
If you have the capacity, this type of question could alleviate some of the pain you’re experiencing, and also deepen your compassion and understanding about meaningful responses for yourself and others. And if you’re patient, it will also lead you into deeper, restorative conversations about how to alleviate the pressure and grief in these marginalized communities. Helpful grief work will always lead us closer to others in similar circumstances with fresh eyes.
But to drown your thought life in current events? Not helpful; often harmful. Unplug all the electronics — as much as you can. Give yourself the chance to reconnect with the ground beneath you and the air around you. Literally hug a tree (just check for ants).
The more you intentionally move and reconnect with your physical body, the more attuned your thoughts will become to the present moment. This is a powerful way to move away from thoughts, emotions, and behaviors connected to a fear of the unknown future.
With anticipation of your reconnection to self and others,
Do you have questions about grief? Send Mandy your questions via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. All submissions are anonymous, with details occasionally changed to protected against identification.
You can also submit a question here: Ask A Grief Coach!
Mandy Capehart is an author, small business owner, editor, certified grief and life coach, and creator of The Restorative Grief Project. The Restorative Grief Project is an online community focusing on one another’s stories and new methodologies for grief, creating a safe environment for our souls to heal and our spirits to be revived. To learn more, visit MandyCapehart.com or follow her on Twitter. She thinks she is pretty funny. The jury is out.