Motivational Affirmations to Self

Below, you will find a few affirmations I’ve been saying to myself daily, and sharing them to LinkedIn. I hope you find them helpful, just as much as I have, and others too.

Each day, I try to find something positive to remind me that life is still worth living. These affirmations come to me because I think about my cousin’s incredible spirit and her undeniable knack for making others feel good, and because I have also been reading/listening to a few “Grief” devotionals via my Bible app.

I’ve another appointment with my therapist next Tuesday, at 7 p.m. Lord knows I love our sessions. I think I am going to need this one so much more than any other because this week has TRIED my patience. Seriously. I am glad I have my memories, these thoughts, some tools, and a loving and supportive tribe.

Healing is a journey. I think I am on the right path.

The Grieving Room

What is my body trying to say?

It would be an understatement if I said this past week has been a pleasant week. Overall, it has been. It would not be an untruth — I’ve had more “on” days than “off”, and for this, I am grateful. However, grief is hitting me differently, and I have dealt with a few aches, pains, and discomforts as I try to move through each day as they come. At the closing of each night, just before I get into bed, I have noted how I feel — what my heart senses — how my body is trying to communicate with me. I am healing. There is no denying this, but something is pulling at me — something still has a major hold.

I mentioned in the previous installment about having to take a week away from social media and much of the online world, and I also took a day of bereavement from work early last week. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these things needed to take place. I had been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and sunken by the pull of sadness and an overall sense of exhaustion that cannot be described.

I catered to myself. I made myself a priority. The usual adulting things had to take place, but I set a goal for myself to “do nothing” in the evenings during my break away from the online world. And do nothing is exactly what I did. The following Monday, though, I hit the ground running once again, even pursued some more overtime at work, and this past Thursday, May 12, 2022, I started experiencing some nausea. By Friday, it was several trips to the bathroom that also ran into this morning.

Could this be my body’s way of telling me I bolted out of my period of rest too soon, or could I be experiencing the first few phases of burnout?

What is burnout and how do I resolve to not welcome it?

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as:

Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.

“Burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Researchers point out that individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.

Whatever the cause, job burnout can affect your physical and mental health.

I won’t delve into all the symptoms of burnout here — for those, you can read the list. I will mention the ones I am currently experiencing.

  1. I lack the energy to be consistently productive.
  2. I have found it hard lately to concentrate.
  3. My sleeping habits have changed.
  4. I have begun (again) to use food to feel better or change my mood.
  5. I have had several headaches, changes in bowel habits, and an overwhelming sense of fatigue for the past few months.

It is important for me to assess these things and understand why I am the current host of choice. Could they all just be lingering things occurring because of grief? Or, am I truly overdoing it and my body is on the verge of telling me, “SIT DOWN SOMEWHERE, NOW!”

I want to be wiser than the things currently happening, which is why I’ve reserved several days off from work in the coming months. We will have Memorial Day off, which is coming up shortly. I have requested Friday, July 08, 2022, and Monday, July 11, 2022, as well as two more days in August and a day in October. I rarely request this much time off from work, but I have well over 130 hours of PTO, and it is time I use it.

Maybe by doing this, I can curb any other symptoms from introducing themselves to me. *Fingers crossed*

Cooking as a gift to myself.

Recently, I have found it best to drain my sorrows in junk food, fast food, and all things unhealthy and this is something I must will myself to end. For a little over three years, I’d been on a path to eating more healthy foods, exercising, donating hours of self-care/self-love to myself, and cooking as relaxation. After my bout with my digestive system over the last few days, I have had enough.

I am resetting myself so my body will be kind to me again. I’ve purchased fresh ingredients and items necessary to make lasagna for dinner tomorrow. I will have steamed zucchini and squash as the vegetables. I will put forth conscious efforts to continue exercising and enjoying the sunny days “predicted” in the forecast.

Cooking is a gift I can give myself. I will know what I am putting into my system and what I plan to remove. It is relaxation I cannot describe adequately. When I am in my kitchen, listening to music, or to the pleasant birdsong I seem to get in my area, the meal I have in mind takes on a fantastical presence. I am shifted into a mini world of The Food Network, where I am an amazing chef and my viewers await my next recipe.

It lends me a sense of peace, and I know I need so much more now — it’s time I lean back into this talent I neglected.

Hello, body. I hear you.

The last few months have been hard. I am learning to face the things damaging to my mind, body, and heart head-on, and issue grace on a more frequent basis to myself. If my body is trying to say I am going in the wrong direction, it is time I shift it and get us back on the right path. I know my cousin would agree with me — my aunt, too. Realizing that their physical forms are no longer here with me for me to hug, hold on to, embrace, and welcome has given me a new sense of love for all living things.

I love my body. I want to give it what it needs, even if I am still carrying the weight of grief neatly on my shoulders. None of what I gift myself will be in vain. I know what I need to do now. Body, I hear you.

I will leave you with a quote I find applicable to today’s installment:

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. — Oprah Winfrey


Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.

See you next Saturday.


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in The Grieving Room Newsletter via LinkedIn

The Grieving Room

The inevitability of life ending should not end you

Photo by Ryan Gagnon on Unsplash

We moved through several tornado warnings yesterday in my area and all I could truly think about was seeing the sun once again when it peeked through the clouds. How odd, isn’t it? To wish for the sun in the middle of a torrential downpour with looming tornadoes lurking in the distance? I guess I can describe it as odd, but when I take a step back and look at the entire picture, perhaps not. I feel as though I have been escaping several tornadoes of my own — lifely tornadoes.

It is my belief that we, as human beings, have been programmed to wish for the light in the middle of darkness. We prefer happiness over sadness — a great outlook on life instead of a painful one — a successful career as opposed to a flighty one that leaves consistent income as a mere thought and not a reality. We want these things to be near the positive end of life’s spectrum, yet we often forget that in order for there to be balance, we need the downs and the ups. We have to brace ourselves for the lows in order to find ourselves on the high end once again. This is the way of life.

Death is inevitable — we can never stop it.

I recently lost my aunt, my mom’s older sister — on the tail-end of losing a writer friend — on the tail-end of losing my older, favorite cousin. There has been a death of a loved one each month so far this year except in January. When one pulls all this information and losses in order to register them properly, it’s hard to digest. On top of these not-so-happy experiences, the average workday still had to occur.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, I took a bereavement day. I had phone calls to make on behalf of my mother — people to “fill in” regarding the news. I checked on my grandmother and my uncle to see if I needed to take on any of the tasks to lighten their loads. I kept up with my mom, (who is dealing with this oddly) to be her sounding board and listening ear. Plainly put, I had things to do — death did not stop me.

Wikipedia defines death as:

Death is the irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain an organism.

“The irreversible cessation . . .” Although death has taken place so much it seems recently, life continues. There are things that have to be done — need to be done and without these things, I cannot live the life I agreed to ensure for myself.

Take a break when you know you need to.

I found it best to take a temporary leave away from social media and writing platforms. A clear head was what I needed. I wanted to be readily available for family and friends and of a sound mind if I were called upon. I was. And this meant more to me than something I am sure I can log in to check from this point forward. There was no emergency online — nothing that needed my immediate attention. Everything likened to some form of interest to me is still here — still thriving.

It had been of the utmost importance for me to pull away, listen to my heart and mind, and sustain myself at all costs. The weight from the heaviness of multiple losses has no description. There are no words. I am reminded of my father — an Episcopalian minister/elder who says about death: “Baby, death is a life coming to its end, and there’s nothing that can be done about it.” No truer words have been spoken. We can try our best to stave off death or stare it down in its face as long as we have the willingness to fight it, but if it is time — your time — my time, it will happen. On this, you can be certain.

You fell. Get back up.

The fall came before I could measure it. I used to call it “The Downing,” when I was prone to slipping into depressive states. But it came. This time, I am unsure if I should credit growth, overall satisfaction with my life, or the understanding of more things now that I am older, but I did not stay knocked down. I lunged my body upward, shook myself stable, and soldiered on with what feels like a higher purpose.

I refused to let the inevitability of life ending end me. Each of these people are lovely, and I have wonderful memories of them. I have photographs, stories, email exchanges, visits, and phone calls, and every single one of these memories is now filed in my mental log for future recollection. I am, however, taking baby steps. I am not running at this point, no . . . I am walking casually along this path while I allow myself to grieve wholeheartedly.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11, NLT


Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.

See you next Saturday.


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally shared via LinkedIn.

remembering

I catch myself–I nearly click your phone number, desperate to hear your voice. my world is shifting and I have to remind myself that death does not issue refunds.

I back out of my contacts and slap my thigh . . . “You can’t call her anymore.” it’s a stern statement I allow to slither in my mind more times than I can count, yet, I forget.

it’s the remembering . . . the recollections of good times and big love we shared, and now it’s all a matter of discarded hopes and dreams never to see the light of day.

I should be better by now, but by whose standards or expectations . . . and why is betterment the goal?

I flit from sleeping soundly to tossing and turning frequently and my body clock is on vacation.

tonight, I listen for you in the wind–the trees send your voice to me, and I lose my way to a place that shelters me from every storm. you’re there, and I’m happy again.

__________

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt, Originally published via Simily

Spring’s Mighty Grip On the Cusp of Summer

Musical Selection: The Isley Brothers|Here We Go Again

Another shot of my best friend’s plant therapy room. The Healing Space. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

An Audio Poem

Bugs, blooms, and birds are wild
with life, each pressing through their
own way of being.

I am gifted by the heavens to
open my eyes, spread out
my arms, and let the rain wash
over me.

Chirping pummels through my
windows, louder than I can
tolerate, but the harmony
is mesmerizing.

I won’t complain.

The dog and I walk around
our neighborhood at a fast
pace, picking up speed as
the wind howls on a subtle
spring day.

The sun plays hide-and-seek
with the clouds and every other
day is a race to beat the
grip of Winter while waiting
on the cusp of Summer.

“I have no fight left in me”
is what I tell a friend who
asks how I’m dealing
with death.
 
Death of a season
Death of a job
Death of a hobby
Death of family
Death of a friend . . .

“I have no fight left in me.”
And it’s part true and
part lie but she doesn’t
ask a follow-up question
and for this, I am grateful.

I spend most of my
vacation time away at my
best friend’s house lulled
by nature in her
plant therapy room,
losing who I was — 
finding who I should be.

I am changing with the
season and with every breath
I’m given, I look forward
to shedding this skin.

I want to see the person
under it.

I’ve been waiting to
meet her.


Originally published in Where Wild Things Grow via Medium as a response to the May the Seasons Change prompt.