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Author Rachel Naomi Remen writes: “We burn out not because we don’t care but because we don’t grieve. We burn out because we have allowed our hearts to become filled with so much loss we have no room left to care.” 

I don’t know about you, but there are days when my heart is bursting with a sense of loss. There is just so much loss bombarding our lives. Some days, carrying it around is just too much. Those are the days I find myself needing to give myself heart-attention. 

What does this look like? First, know that all of us have different grief needs. 

In fact, everyone’s grief is their own private process. Lots of variables affect our experiences of grief and loss. From the type of loss to the circumstances surrounding the loss to the ripple effects of the aftermath, grief is personal. Very personal. 

Being with our individual grief can be challenging – it may seem easier to do self-soothing things instead of really looking deeply at the cause of your emotions. 

If I find myself spending too much time on social media, it may mean that rather than sitting patiently with my feelings, I’m setting them aside in favor of scrolling. 

When our hearts are full to bursting, flooded by both our inner grief and the grief of the world, it is time to slow down. Check-in with yourself at this moment – what self-soothing strategies are you using to distract yourself from your grief? After you bring this to your awareness, you could invite yourself to consider ways to take the time you need for sitting with your feelings. 

What is the grief that needs tending in your heart? 

Maybe that grief is obvious in the present moment – you’ve experienced a recent death loss. If you find yourself in other life changes, your grief may not feel as obvious until you begin reflecting. You could ask yourself these questions as you consider what might be piling up in your heart. It can be helpful to jot down your thoughts in a journal. 

In recent months or years, what experiences have touched your heart? Write about one of them. 

What has your loss been teaching you? 

What have you learned about yourself as you’ve waded through this experience? 

What kindness do you need for sitting with your grief? A trusted person you can talk to? Time outdoors? If your grief feels too big or daunting, who can support you further – pastor, therapist, coach? What resources does your grief need? 

Because we can feel heavy-laden with our losses, we may need to gently sift through them over time. It is impossible to unpack the whole story of grief in one sitting. Instead, we can give ourselves room to take it all one step at a time. Write, reflect, meditate, or pray about just one thing. Then, give yourself room to rest. 

Within your exploration of grief (and burnout), be as patient as possible. 

You could choose an approach of patience and love that you would give to your best friend if he/she were in similar circumstances. Be radically patient because grief is not a problem to be solved but an experience to be lived and learned from. 

In this challenging world, what are you finding helpful for tending to your grief? 


If this resonates with you, let’s chat!

A watershed moments coach can come alongside your experience of grief and loss providing support, encouragement, education about the nature of grief and insight that can assist you as you mourn. Collaborating with a coach is an investment in finding your way forward after a significant life change.  Connect with us for a brief introductory conversation where we will explore whether we are a fit for your current grief needs.  Click here to schedule a no-charge, 20-minute conversation where we will learn more about one another.