For 2018, I’m continuing the tradition that fellow blogger Philippa Ramsden started: blogging about the three words that will guide me this year. (To check out Philippa’s three words for 2018, click here.)
As my readers know, 2017 witnessed me getting laid off and losing my beloved aunt soon after. My precious aunt was my rock. She was fun. She was non-judgmental. She helped me when I was diagnosed and treated for cancer. She took care of me when I was recovering from my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. She was my advocate, my cheerleader, my biggest fan. And now she was gone.
And my dad entering hospice was the shitty cherry on top of a craptastic year. Hopelessness and grief entered my physical and emotional sphere. I worked so hard at finding another job, all while in deep distress.
Such a difficult thing to do.
I cried constantly: I was overwhelmed. I managed the best I could. Finally, in early September, I obtained a teaching position at a local community college.
Although I love the job at this wonderful college and connect well with the students, grief has been my epicenter. I stopped doing things I found pleasurable, such as painting, reading, exercising, and even writing. I stopped taking care of myself, handling grief by turning to food and a sedentary lifestyle. I slept too much, fueling my depression.
At my oncologist’s office recently, I got on the scale, and the truth was in the numbers. And I wondered, how could I have lost control of my physical and emotional well-being?
So, for 2018 and beyond, I’m taking my life back.
And that’s why my three words for 2018 are grit, resilience, and tenacity.
I’m going to tap deeply in my courage bank and reach for these words throughout 2018, as I work hard to get back into shape and stay in shape and enjoy other pleasurable activities — all to stave off depression, keep my mind sharper, build up physical stamina, and lose weight. I physically and emotionally thrive on exercise; for me, it is a huge stress reliever.
This might sound like a New Year’s resolution, but this is a lifetime resolution.
I’ve already started working out at my gym most days, and my goal is to continue a healthy lifestyle for as long as I can into the future. It takes grit to get up each day and walk away from depression towards the gym. It takes resilience to cope with grief and decide that it’s acceptable to grieve, but it’s also acceptable to be kind and generous to oneself even when grieving. It takes tenacity to continue making healthy choices and eat foods that help, not harm, one’s body.
It takes all three words to keep crippling depression at bay.
I am not expecting to be free of grief or sadness. I refuse to be some kind of automaton that doesn’t feel.
I simply want to be kinder to myself.
This does not come easily to me.
And that’s why grit, resilience, and tenacity will be my allies, guiding me to grieve and yet take care of myself, to feel sadness but not allow it to cripple me, and to keep hope from veering onto the road of hopelessness.
Do you have three words that will guide you in 2018? If so, feel free to share them.
Tags: coping with grief, exercise, exercise and grief