Saturday, November 22, 2014

When You Can’t Be With Them: Messages that make a difference

This post is dedicated to and inspired by my friend Cheryl.

It’s not uncommon for a good friend or family member to be undergoing a traumatic or extremely stressful event and you can’t be with them. Regardless of their situation- intense care giving; grieving the death of family member or close friend; flare of chronic disease; undergoing surgery or other medical treatments; loss of a job; marital breakup etc.-they need a break from it. Even if you live on the other side of the planet there is something you can do

The science behind my “consider the following” suggestions: George Bonanno, who is the leading researcher on grief and loss, has been very clear about the importance of laughter and distraction,  The more that people smile early on during bereavement, the faster they tend to recover their equilibrium. In many ways distraction and avoidance end up being better ways of managing intense grief than involved grief-focused conversations. Distressed people can become sensitized by such conversations and end up having a worse outcome than they otherwise would.” 

With that in mind, there are a variety of things you can e-mail or text to help “lighten the mood.” This is just a “start you off.”  You know this person best and will have a much better idea of  what they’ll respond to.

Consider the Following:

• Videos
- George Carlin-10 Commandments Love Carlin, butt he’s not for everyone. 
- What would Christmas be without a new Christmas song-Text Me Merry Christmas 

 • Jokes Some people love them and have particular favorites. Others love puns and then there are those that don’t want anything to do with either. Jokes from Comedy Central  has a wide array to choose from for the person that truly enjoys them.

Fun Art
There is always room for some quick art breaks and the following websites are amusing, fascinating and will transport you to another place:
Staggering Beauty: Use your mouse to shake worm guy. Make sure the speakers are on. 
• This is Sand:  What’s not to love about virtual sand painting? Could spend hours doing this.
 • Mandalas: Color or design a virtual mandala.

Music Videos: A friend of mine posts music all the time to Facebook. Never any political comment, just a daily reminder of all the wonderful music in the world to enjoy. You can ask them what their 10 top musicians are and then send them videos to watch. I sent these links to Cheryl this past week, so I’m including them here.
• The Godmother of Rock & Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe Live in Manchester, 1964: “I’m singing, oh I’m singing in my soul, when the troubles roll, I sing from morn’ till night, it makes my burdens light…” 

 Qigong/Yoga Breaks: Quick meditative breaks can be very helpful

 • The weekly Wednesday “take a break” has hundreds of ideas that can be sent. Check out the Take a Break Pinterest for inspiration. 

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