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Losing a loved one is never easy. Although death is a part of life, it’s not something we typically face head on — until it happens. Michelle Erland courageously faced tragedy twice in her life, losing her mother to long battle with cancer and her father suddenly to a rare disease. She shares her story on her Mind of a Mentor episode, where she offers our listeners advice on how to mourn in a healthy and productive way.
Here are 5 tips on how she coped with lost and found herself.
1. Keeping Busy
During her times of mourning, Michelle committed herself to keeping busy by using work as a healthy outlet. This can be both good and bad as busy work can potentially take away from the mourning process.
If done correctly, it can help motivate you towards accomplishing your goals and aspirations. Working at a bar at the time, Michelle used her pain to propel her to a GM position. Although she still had plenty of unresolved feelings to conquer, she used her negative situation to fuel her work. This would set the tone for future career successes.
…she used her negative situation to fuel her work.
2. Therapy and Talking Things Out
After the passing of her mother, Michelle started attending therapy once a week. She said it helped her talk out her emotions in a safe and controlled environment. It was there she realized that it was OK to be angry, OK to be confused, and all the complex emotions that come with death.
There’s no shame in therapy. In reality, it can help you deal with unresolved feelings and emotions.
3. Remembering The Good Times
It was important for Michelle to remember her parents in the right context. She focused her attention on the good times. Laughing at things her parents did and bring to attention other joyful memories allowed her to express herself without it coming from a sad perspective.
It’s natural for the mind to drift towards tragedy, but finding the strength to focus on the good times can help you honor the memory of your love one in the right light.
4. Making A Change
Sometimes a tragic situation can fuel you towards making a major life change. That can be anything from moving to a new city, taking on a new project or anything that shakes up your current life’s path.
Michelle decided to move into the city and start making it on her own. Moving from Long Island to NYC, especially after the loss of her mother must have been a difficult decision. However, she looked at it as an opportunity to honor her memory by taking her mother’s lessons into a whole new environment.
Don’t be afraid to make a change. That change can help heal your wounds, while providing new opportunities to live life to the fullest.
Don’t be afraid to make a change.
5. Take Your Time — It’s Your Journey
The most important lessons from Michelle: Take Your Time.
Michelle stopped attending college after her mother’s passing. And guess what? She was fine with it. At that time she realized it was best to take a break from education to mourn and work her way through things. She eventually went back to culinary school, which then led to her becoming a certified sommelier.
It’s okay to create your own journey and timeline. Some people may have an opinion on how you mourn or the choices you make as you mourn. Although it may come from a place of love, it’s completely up to you on how you set off on your journey. Listen to your heart and take the time YOU need to move forward.
For more on Michelle’s courageous journey, please check our podcast — Mind of a Mentor.
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