Happy New Year to our Edmonds community and readers of this column! I’m glad to be back in the Edmonds Fitness Corner.
It’s been about six months since my column has appeared for My Edmonds News. Some of you may remember that I lost my husband Coach Dan Potts last January, and I wrote last February about exercising through grief. Subsequently, last year went on to be the most difficult of my life, and although I religiously exercised my way through it, there were plenty of other parts of my life that fell by the wayside, including writing. It felt like I barely kept my head above water. They say time heals all, but now I know that what time does is make the pain more bearable.
I started writing this about a week ago, but have struggled to complete it. That’s not like me (well, the old me) and there is no timetable for when I might be back to “normal.” But as difficult as this last year was, I’m not less capable. If anything I’m stronger, and I’ve learned so much out of this tremendous tragedy! I’d like to share some life lessons on getting through loss, which would equally apply to dealing with stress—after all, we will all face stress/loss in one way or another one day.
1. You are stronger than you think. Even if you don’t feel like you are, you really are! Just get up every morning and know that each day will take you further away from the event that is causing you so much stress.
2. Enlist expert resources to support you. In my case, talking with a grief counselor every two weeks was the best thing I did in that regard. It’s an amazing feeling when there is someone out there who understands exactly what you are going through.
3. Face the pain. It’s normal to go a little crazy for a little while and overindulge in times of great stress (specifically drugs, alcohol, food). Until it’s not! You can never run away or hide from the pain you may be trying to avoid and it will find you eventually.
4. Be open to any support that comes your way. You don’t necessarily have to go to lunch with someone who offers if you don’t feel like it, but it’s nice to be thought of. For example, I found great comfort in posting on Facebook about my husband — just getting some “likes” helped so much. And don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends and family. Often, they have no idea what they can do to help you.
5. Take joy in what you can. Part of the grieving process is learning to live again and it can be very difficult to be okay with that. It seems paradoxical but if it weren’t for the lows in life we wouldn’t appreciate the highs.
6. This too shall pass. After my husband died, I was absolutely certain I would die from the pain. Then, after about six months it occurred to me I would not die from the pain. And it’s now so much more bearable than I ever thought it would be, I’m fairly astonished!
As much as I can’t believe it’s been a year, it has, and I am still here. I am hoping this year brings more energy and greater ease and some measure of happiness for all, particularly anyone who has struggled with great stress, loss and trauma.
This too shall pass.
Coach Dan Potts passed away peacefully on January 16, 2014, after an unbelievably courageous 16-year battle against cancer.
Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12+ years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. Connect online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.