7 ways to cope with stressful events in your life
We’ve known each other since we were tiny.
Ours is one of those friendships where we might not speak for six months, but we pick up where we left off; you know?
A year ago I picked up the phone to hear her in pieces; utterly distraught and barely able to catch her breath.
Her husband, of 25 years, had left her.
He’d woken her at 6ish, restless. She’d asked what was wrong and after a 2 hour conversation he was gone.
There was no affair, no secret life, but it transpired he’d felt ‘trapped’ for many years and he couldn’t take ‘married life’ any longer.
My friend and I had daily calls that week and I heard her getting worse and worse.
She was on anti depressants, drinking a bottle of wine a day, smoking 20 cigarettes, crying most hours and not sleeping.
So I asked her to come to stay with me.
I don’t mind admitting, I was frightened she was going to do something silly.
She arrived a shadow of her former self – huge bags under her eyes, a puffy face from crying, she was shaking and looked like she’s lost over a stone already.
She needed mothering, befriending, cuddling and lots and lots of TLC.
She stayed for over a month and here’s some of the ways she healed herself in that time.
I can’t get across how important it is to let everything out and to talk things through – over and over if necessary.
As you do so, your brain starts to process and you begin to work through a myriad of emotions from grief, sadness and fear to anger and injustice.
While friends can be great, they aren’t always qualified, so professional help from someone like a cognitive hypnotherapist can help.
I really believe we are what we eat, so while in my care, my friend was fed wholesome, home cooked food.
With plenty of organic chocolate on the side of course!
Even on days when her appetite was tiny, I was able to get her to drink smoothies to which we could add some superfoods.
There are some fantastic essential oils which can help you process your emotions.
One of my favourites is benzoin, which makes you feel as though you are held in a warm blanket.
Bergamot is an anti-depressant and lavender can help you relax.
St Johns Wort
Although not qualified to give medical advise, we looked at all the options regarding the anti depressants she was on.
They were having horrible side effects and over time, and with the guidance of her doctor, we moved her onto St Johns Wort and a high dose vitamin B supplement instead.
It was time for the cigarettes to go! We switched her to the VIP cigarette; which is a tobacco-free alternative to smoking. You get the taste of a traditional cigarette, and a boost of nicotine but without the harmful smoke from tobacco. Ok, it might not be ideal, but this was a friend in crisis…
Again, I was reluctant to remove emotional crutches at such a desperate time, but by switching to organic wine we were able to reduce some of the sulphites and other nasties her body might have had to deal with.
When you are dealing with so much emotional stuff, I believe taking the load off your body by drinking and eating well can help a lot.
Self help books
We virtually had our own personal Amazon courier while my friend was with me! But personal self help books can be so valuable.
We read about mindfulness, meditation, breath work and heaps of other stuff I’d never come across before. It was an amazing and humbling learning curve and in the end my friend plucked up the courage to join a local philosophy group and yoga class.
One year on, she’s unrecognisable.
Is she over it all? No, not at all, but her life has taken on new meaning.
She’s got rid of her business and is working as a personal trainer, she’s selling her house and moving 2 hours away to ‘start again’. She’s running every morning, still taking yoga and still practices meditation AND she’s joined an art class.
She now realises that without this massive event in her life, she might still be working in a business she hates, drinking a bottle of wine in front of the TV every night with her husband and getting more and more unhealthy.
What about you – how do you deal with stressful events in your life?
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