When you’re grieving you need to be prepared for anything. In today’s episode I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to look at learning the skills you need to navigate life after babyloss. We’re packing our bag and heading to the beach to enjoy the day! Come with us!
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There is something that I have been teaching for a long time to my clients and it’s called a grief toolkit, and it’s a really powerful way to look at figuring out what you need and setting yourself up to. Be able to just pull from this toolkit any time. And I was thinking, I haven’t shared this on the podcast and it’s so powerful.
Everybody needs to hear about it. But I thought, you know, grief toolkit it. I don’t know if it’s the vibe that I’m trying to put out here. And so I was thinking and thinking like, what else could I call it? How could I describe this same concept but in a little more fun way, um, that really fits with what we do here?
And I was just thinking, and finally like, boom, a light bulb hit and I thought, Of course we are gonna call it the Grief Beach bag. Now, I wanna welcome you to Smooth Stones. Why is my podcast called Smooth Stones? Well, I heard an analogy once of grief being like a rock in your shoe that is, Hard and sharp and jagged, and it’s really, really painful at first.
But as you go through the process of grieving and learning more about grief and learning to live with this rock, it starts to break up the edges and eventually it comes, becomes smooth and you just carry it with you as a reminder of the person that you’re missing. And I really. Love this analogy and taking it with me because that’s the journey I want you to go on.
So wherever you are, I want you to be able to smooth out the rough edges in your life. It might not be grief, like maybe you’ve done pretty well with grief, but like there’s someone in your life that’s just striving you crazy or work is really hard, or parenting is really hard, whatever it is. Let’s, let’s smooth that out.
And I chose. The imagery and the colors and all the things that come with the beach because I think it’s so soothing and so calming. And also waves are such a great analogy of grief. We talk a lot about grief waves and we talk a lot about how. You know, sometimes it’s smooth and sometimes it just feels like you are being beaten against those rocks, and, and so that’s where we are.
So I want you to mentally be at the beach. Think about the things that are painful, that are poking you, that are, you know, sometimes, where was I last time? We must have been by a lake or something. And I had flip flops on and there were these like super pokey uh, weeds there, and they were poking like right through my flip flop.
We’re gonna try to get those out. Let’s, let’s really talk about going to the beach. Uh, most of us like this, we would say going to the beach is a good thing. I actually grew up, I grew up on the prairies and now I live in the mountains. I have gotten to spend a little bit of time living in Central California and got to be by the beach, and I loved it.
It was a lot of fun, but it has it’s pros and cons. But when we talk about. Grief Beach, like I said a minute ago. Sometimes it might be really rocky, it might be cold. Uh, it might feel dangerous, right? There are some places where there’s like signs like, you really don’t wanna go down here. There’s rogue waves, and um, or there’s things in the water that can hurt you and you need to be really careful.
But overall, I think when we envision the beach and we envision those waves, we think of the smooth sounds, the repeating sounds, the waves crashing and crashing. It’s something a lot of us go to sleep to, right? It’s something that’s soothing. And so I want you to imagine a trip to the beach as we talk about packing your grief beach bag because.
You are gonna figure this out, whatever your beach day kinda looks like, whether it’s one of those like super windy days that is, seems a little bit miserable, um, or whether it’s just perfect. If you have everything you need, you are gonna feel so much more prepared. When you’re ready for anything, your mind will be so much more at ease.
And that’s what I want for you. I want you to say, how can I make this easy? How can I make this fun? How can I make my life after loss easier? Because you’ve got a lot of hard things, but if you have the things you need in your bag, You are gonna feel just that much more confident that you’re gonna be able to handle anything.
I want you to make this really, really custom to you. Some people pack really light and minimal stereotypically like men. They’re gonna have maybe their phone, their wallet, their keys, they’re good. They’ll go to the beach, right? My husband will even just wear shoes, like he doesn’t even care. He just. He doesn’t think we need to bring anything, and I’m usually packing up in that department, but I have some teenage daughters and they have, what are they called?
Thread wallets. It’s like a lanyard and it just fits like your debit card, your id. It snaps on your keys. I mean, sometimes that might be what you need. And then there’s people that are gonna look like, they’re kind of like moving to the beach for a week or something. They have brought everything. Possibly with them, and that is okay too.
Probably you’re gonna fall somewhere in the middle and it’s gonna adjust. That’s the thing about grief. We need to be able to adjust, but having these tools is going to help you do that. Okay, so I am gonna describe some essentials that I think are really important for everyone to pack. But like I said, make it your own.
Um, and the funny thing is, as I went through these essentials that are in your toolkit, I, I probably have an individual episode on most of these tools. So go and check those out, but where you’re really going to get some leverage and feel like you really have what you need in your grief beach bag, you’re gonna wanna come and talk to me, go to my website, smooth stones coaching.com.
Working with me is going to get you ready to go a lot faster and you’re gonna feel a lot more confident. Now. Here are I’ve, I’ve kind of likened all of these essentials to things that we would have in a beach bag. I think it’s fun to just think about it this way and it helps our brain, uh, just really see it.
I love visualizations. I love imagining myself at the beach. Now first thing we want is sunscreen. Sunscreen protects us right when we don’t have sunscreen. We are probably going to be in pain by the end of the day at the beach. And what I think your sunscreen is is self coaching. So if you’ve been listening, you know, we use a self-coaching model here and it helps us see that our circumstances are not the things that create our feelings, but our thoughts are, and there are lots of self-coaching tools when you have self-coaching, when you have a practice of like journaling every day, or even thinking about it as you’re on the go.
Or just noticing your thoughts and having more awareness instead of just letting your brain run with whatever it thinks you are gonna protect yourself from pain. Like it actually protects you because you don’t have to go through that rollercoaster of feeling terrible and, and all the things, and then finally coming back to some sort of peace.
It’s like you just have peace to begin with cuz you have the tools to see that the things that are happening around you. Don’t have to affect you negatively. Like if you know who you are and who you wanna be and what’s important to you, you just get to live your life the way you want to, and that’s what it is.
Like you just put that sunscreen on and you’re safe. You’re not gonna get a sunburn. So do yourself coaching, then we have a towel. Um, I love to envision just like a big fuzzy towel all wrapped around you. And that tool is compassion. Compassion is like a big warm blanket. Being kind to yourself is, I, I have to say, this has gotta be one of the most important tools that you can have in life after baby loss.
You have to be kind to yourself, and it’s so easy not to be right and just think of when you don’t have a towel at the beach. Uh, you’re going to have sand in your shorts. You’re gonna be cold, you’re gonna be wet. There’s lots of reasons that a towel is really, really helpful, and so I want you to envision wrapping yourself in a big, fuzzy towel and just leaning into self-compassion.
Okay, a water bottle. This is what I am going to ref, refer to as essential self-care. Really the basics of life. Eating, sleeping, hydrating, um, you know, all those things we need to do to make sure our body is functioning. Showering. Sometimes it’s showering that can go out the window when we’re grieving.
That can really be hard, and if you’re having a hard time getting out of bed, you’re having a hard time showering, please get help. Get some support. Talk to someone, tell ’em you’re struggling. But we need to do those essentials to take care of our body, to take care of our nervous system, to be able to access the rest of these tools.
So just like water is kind of the basis of keeping us alive and keeping us comfortable too, right? Like if you go to beach all day and you have nothing to drink, it’s not gonna be very fun. We wanna be replenishing ourselves and taking care of ourselves, um, in that way. So don’t skip the basics cuz it just makes everything harder.
All right. Then we have snacks and we could kind of compare this to nourishment, but uh, I really wanted to compare it to joy. Things that bring you joy, the things that light you up, the things that are just fun. I think when we go to the beach, I mean, you’re gonna take things that everybody likes that are maybe different than your everyday.
So just finding those sparks of joy and those little snacks, like your very favorite thing. Maybe it’s your favorite gas station food or your favorite, um, vacation food, right? What are those things that bring you joy in your life? Don’t forget to add joy. Because even when you’re sad, you’re allowed to be joyful too, and you gotta pack it.
You gotta on purpose say, I am gonna bring joy into my life. Last week we talked about allowing and making room for magic. Bring it in, let it be there. The next thing that will be in your grief beach bag is a book. Now as a mom of living kids going to the beach, I don’t generally get to just sit and read a book, but we did recently go on a trip with no kids and I did get to sit on the porch at our condo by the beach that we rented.
It was our 20th anniversary trip, and it got to just sit there and read a book and be quiet and it was awesome. It’s like heaven, really. Um, but. For books. I wanna compare that to knowledge. You want to be learning in grief. Like if you start reading grief books, you’re gonna start hearing the same things over and over and over.
You’re gonna learn about grief, you’re gonna learn about finding joy. You’re gonna learn about so many things, and not even just with grief. Right. What other knowledge do you need? What do you need to know about your body? What do you need to know about your relationships? What do you need to know about?
Um, just so many things. Things that interest you. I think learning and continuing to learn and gaining knowledge is so essential in life after loss. And again, sometimes we lose that, like that desire. To learn or that desire to, um, try new things. It seems like it just goes away. So you gotta bring it on purpose.
You gotta pack that book. Even if you think I might not have time to read this, bring it with you, have it there if you need it. Then I have hand sanitizer since even before Covid, I think this was a thing, but definitely after. We have got all the hand sanitizers all over the place, and I wanna compare this to washing off the yucky stuff.
And this is something that you can do and it’s a tool that you can have on hand when things get messy, when people say things, when you know something bad goes down and it just feels ick and you want to wash it off and get rid of it, you can do that. You have that power. A lot of the times we want other people to fix it.
We want like everything to go perfectly. We wanna go back in the past, whatever. But you know what, really you get to decide that you get to put hand sanitizer on your own hands on your own stuff, wash it off, and you do it for you. Cuz you’re the one who benefits, right? You’re the one who gets to have those clean hands that you’re not worried about.
And. It’s really powerful to just say, I can wash off the yucky stuff myself. I don’t need to wait for anybody to change or for anybody to do anything, or for the world to be different. You just rub on some hand sanitizer. Okay. We also usually bring a change of clothes, and if you’re like me, you’re always gonna have a sweater if you’re going to the beach.
Right? You just kind of assume, at least where I live on the West coast is generally like kind of. Chillier by the beach most of the year. Uh, but yeah, you wanna have a sweater, you wanna have a pair of pants, you wanna have like an extra pair of stuff if, um, you get wet, whatever it is. And this, I wanna compare to being adaptable.
This is a skill you can learn. This is something I teach my clients cuz it’s really easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like. Again, that things have to be a certain way so you can be happy. But when you have the tool of being adaptable, when you know that no matter what the weather is, you’ve got it covered, you are gonna feel so much lighter, you’re gonna feel so much more in control.
So being adaptable, learning to go with the flow. It is a skill you can learn. It’s not like some people are born this way and other people aren’t. Uh, it really is something you can practice and you can learn. So I love that. And then it was funny, I was planning this and I thought, well, You know, you’d wanna know where you’re going on the beach.
And I thought, oh, you should take a map. And then I thought it’s 2023. Uh, most people are not gonna take a paper map in their bag to check out which beach they wanna be at, but, so maybe it’s your phone or just, um, something that’s gonna show you where to go. And I can this to having a direction or having goals, we can’t.
Just wander onto any beach anytime. Some are dangerous, some require hiking. Some are rocky, some um, are messy. Some are have naked people on it, right? You wanna know where you’re going, like you wanna find your way. You wanna get to where you’re going. So if you wanna be on the really pretty clean, safe beach, you might need to look that up.
And this is like, Having directions and having goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you gonna get there? Especially after loss, you still need to have goals. It might be a goal to get to the next minute or the next day, or to get through the next milestone, but have goals, have direction.
That is a really important tool, and it’s something you can learn how to do. You can learn how to set goals. That’s what I teach my clients. How do we set a goal? How do we get there? How do we make the steps? How do we keep going when it gets hard? You can do all of those things when you have that in your grief beach bag.
And then I wanted to add like a shovel or boogie board or some sandcastle molds to bring some more fun, right? We want to pack some fun things. We wanna make room to put some toys in, some entertainment. You know, maybe it’s a volleyball, maybe it’s whatever you like to do, but bring fun. This is a tool that you can learn how to have more fun, how to make life more fun and easy.
So don’t forget to pack the good, fun things. And the last thing I wanted to just touch on is, Inviting friends or maybe wanting to be by yourself. Like I said, my dream, my piece of heaven was reading a book by myself. Um, on the beach. Even with my husband, he was taking a nap and I just got to sit outside by myself.
Right? We were on an anniversary trip, but I was so happy because I am a total introvert. I love quiet. I love being alone, but you might not wanna be alone. Maybe you want. People around you. You wanna bring people with you. You want lost mom friends to come with you on your journey. Um, you need a support system, a medical team.
All of the things that you need, like all the people that you’re thinking about inviting are what you wanna do. I wanna really compare that to knowing your ener energy. So sometimes. You want people with you, right? Or you’re gonna want, um, you’re gonna be able to handle a crowd or. You’ll be able to handle your family, your friends, different people in your life, depending on your energy.
And then other times you’re gonna know that you need to go back to basics, right? You need to just have you and your water bottle there doing those basic things. And that’s where your energy is. And I think that’s really, really important, knowing your energy. And I do have an episode called Emotional Energy that kind of explains this.
You got to know where you are and what you can handle, and then adjust accordingly, right? You don’t need to be overwhelmed and you don’t need to feel lonely. You need to know where your energy is, what you can handle, and kind of invite those people, again, these imaginary people that are coming to the beach with us.
Um, and just, just take care of yourself. I think that’s really, really important and the best way to be packing up your grief beach bag and learning all these tools that go in there and figuring out what tools you need the most and how to use them and how to practice them and what to do when it kind of all goes sideways and, um, you know, everything feels like a mess.
The best way to figure all of this out is to work with me. I have a few spots left for one-on-one coaching now, um, in January to start working with me in my three month program. And I want you to think what would be better in your life by springtime when we can go to the beach and really enjoy it? Who do you wanna be?
What do you want to have learned? What skills do you wanna have? What. What things do you wanna have packed in your grief beach bag three months from now? It is such a powerful thing to do. It’s a powerful thing to have, and I promise you, if you take this little analogy and build your own grief beach bag, pack it up with the things you need.
You are gonna feel so much better, so much more at ease, so much more confident that you can handle whatever gets thrown at you. And that’s what I want. We’re not gonna be afraid of what’s happening outside of us. We’re not gonna try to control it. We’re just gonna take care of ourselves. We’re gonna learn the things we need to learn.
We’re gonna bring the things we need to bring, and life is gonna be so beautiful. I love you. I wish you all the best. I’m sending you hugs. And I will see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby was somehow your fault? Go to Stones coaching com and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.