I’ve worked with hundreds of widowed women, from every walk of life, and very widow I’ve ever worked with has felt stuck and discouraged at some point.

Worse yet, they all thought that feeling stuck and discouraged meant there was something wrong with them. They thought they weren’t doing something right, they thought they weren’t strong enough. Or they thought they were going crazy.

If you are feeling stuck and discouraged, here’s a few things you should know.

The first thing is, you’re not going crazy. The depth of grief we feel when the person we have lived with, so intimately, dies, is overwhelming.

When every aspect of your life changes, you have a right to feel a little overwhelmed.

Think of it this way. One day, your world was right side up. Everything was normal. Then your partner died and your world turned upside down.

If your world is upside down why wouldn’t you feel overwhelmed? Your partner died, nothing is the same.

Look at this more closely: Your love life changed, your identity changed (wife to widow, bang!), your finances might have changed, friendships change (old couple friends don’t invite you to do things anymore and your girlfriends might not be calling you either). Maybe circumstances will not allow you to stay in the home or apartment you shared together. Perhaps you find yourself needing to get a job or take a different job in order to make ends meet. Your tax status changes. If you have children, your relationship with them has changed. (Being a solo parent to young kids is the hardest job of all!)

So just for today, know you are not crazy.

Just for today, take a deep breath and know that every cell in your body is working hard to help you get through this transition from wife to widow.

Try this breathing technique: Close your eyes. Place the fingers of your right hand on your belly, just above your navel and just below your rib cage. Take low, soft breaths into this place, breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Take fifteen more breaths just like that and know showing tenderness to yourself will help you feel better. Try this breathing technique before you sleep at night. It calms the Vagus nerve, which is command central for your nervous system.

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