It’s that time of year again when weather changes, light changes, and layers come out to keep us warm. It’s that time of year again when traditions and aromas of childhood and warmth fill the stores and environments we occupy.

Maybe this time, the past traditions and changes don’t fit our outlook of life woven with loss or grief. Our pockets may be laden with heavy loss. Another change? What can we do for ourselves as autumn shifts from the sunny days of summer to the shadowing and hibernating days of fall and winter?

In loss, one often has “ rolled with the punches” long enough. One has held a stiff upper lip and smiled with uttered condolences when all one wanted to do was scream like the costumed children that will soon be at your doorstep (and not the good kind of screaming with joy).

Routine in loss can help to lessen the blows of change. Old routines may not foot the bill but adding a different rhythm may. Below are a few suggestions that helped me after the death of my spouse. I sought refuse through the winter with the following. See if any strike a cord with you or if you can find a way to tweak the ideas to create a “ temporary routine” in this transitory time. Your personal space, where you take yourself and what you place around yourself is a powerful tool in transition and healing.

Start the day with artificial sunlight. Phillips’ go Lite is compact for travel and 15 minutes of exposure while checking emails or eating breakfast will cast potential doldrums away and help with body clock for the evening’s sleep.

Add some Chai tea or aromatic tea to create a soothing sense of home or comfort. Buy yourself a new mug with a daily affirmation or a new pattern that attracts you.

Light a candle in your personal space as a daily ritual. Essential oils are also an easy and economical aromatic tool to peak your performance or calm you down. You may discover your senses have changed as well.

Hang crystals in the windows to catch daily sun. They create unbridled movement and unexpected play when you may not “feel” playful. Mobiles hanging from the ceiling can provide the same with a gentle breeze from a heating register or overhead fan.

Volunteer with children or take classes with people you do not know. Why? No expectations! You can tell your story if you want, but a fresh page requires nothing but you showing up in the form you are now. Children and toddlers are a physical and mental refresher.

At bedtime, a new cozy robe, slippers, bedside journal and book. These are something someone can gift to you as well. A simple routine of warm milk and honey or chamomile tea and biscuit may nurture the evening and be can be an empowering new routine.

Remember your dormant resiliency. Nutrition for yourself can be found in a new routine. This is a time of storing for spring’s green growth and your own new buds.

What can you imagine? Just add on ingredient. Looking forward to the sprouts!




Susan Reynolds

Susan W. Reynolds developed her innovative system by combining interior redesign principles with grief recovery methods. Susan is a member of the Association of Design Education and a Certified Physical Therapist. Her training in wellness and ergonomics has given her sensitive insights into the needs of people in grief. She is a consultant to hospices on how interior design can help clients feel comfortable and safe. She speaks at bereavement groups to teach her methods to people who have suffered loss. She helps those in grief visualize how small changes in their surroundings can result in big changes in attitude. After her husband died of cancer after a difficult two-year battle, Susan participated in traditional grief groups. She found that a practical approach worked best for her. She uses her blog, "Room for Change", to present her ideas about the role of ergonomics in grief recovery. The book version of her system reflects input from bereavement coordinators and other specialists in the field of death and dying. Her company, Revival Redesign helps people refresh and enliven their personal space using items they already own and love.

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