Finding your inner strength while grieving

Since December, I am on an emotional roller coaster ride. Disappointment, sadness, fear. Trouble sleeping. Anxiety attacks. It still feels unreal that I have been working from home since February, and "this" - being away from family and friends, is going to continue until June.


Since the curfew has started, I started a weekly social listening project Side Walk Talk Singapore, where strangers come together to share any topics, and we practise heart-based listening in a judgement-free space. Few themes came out organically from these discussions: fear and uncertainty of the future, feeling powerless and helpless, loneliness; but also acceptance, the courage to make a difference, love and hope.


Week after week, I'm reminded of how connected and resilient we are as human-beings. As a life coach, I also feel a strong sense of mission to give and help in whatever I can to people who need support.


However, at random moments of the day, the negative emotions will hit me. There are also days where I wake up with such low energy, that I do not feel like doing anything at all except to curl into a ball in bed. 


So how do we find our inner strength to move on on days like these?


Acknowledge and accept your emotions

First of all, there is nothing wrong with what you are feeling! As mentioned in my earlier blog post, give yourself permission to feel! The misconceptions that negative emotions are bad,  and ignoring them will make them go away need to be urgently corrected.  Emotions (positive and negative) are valuable signals that need to be acknowledged, so we can do something meaningful about it. 

  • If I am feeling angry, it means something needs to be righted. 
  • If I am feeling lonely, it means I need to reach out to others. If that is not possible, reach in and be with yourself
  • If I am feeling lethargic, it means I need to rest. "I give myself permission to rest", it could be a 3 min meditation, 10min power nap, a coffee break etc.

Do not be ashamed to reach out to someone if you need to process the emotions. Otherwise, there are other ways to regulate your emotions via journaling, breathing exercises, changing body postures etc.  


Reframe to opportunity

When we are faced with a challenge or obstacle, it is important to tap into our inner voice. Ask ourselves, what is the good and the meaning of this experience? Understand how this setback can be an opportunity, will help us grow stronger, wiser and more resilient. 

If you find yourself having more things to do and is feeling burnt out, the learning opportunity could be setting personal boundaries and learning to say no by honoring yourself. Less is more.


Start the day with Intention setting and end the day with Self affirmation

The society tends to measure us on how much we have achieved. It is too common a response to beat ourselves up if we did not achieve productive goals during this period.

Setting intention helps us be mindful and purposeful throughout the day, instead of being distracted to multiple directions or on autopilot mode.

Example: Have-Do-Be model - "My goal is to finish my business plan by crunching numbers, so I can be worthy." If I did not finish my business plan, therefore I am not worthy.


The nature of intention is not outcome oriented (have), but focused on being and doing. 

Recommended Be-Do-Have model - "Be confident and focused. I will crunch numbers, so I can finish my business plan." The difference is, even if you did not finish your business plan (goal), but did your tasks partially, you are still confident and worthy. Also, I can be restful without doing anything during my downtime and breaks, that is fine! In fact, to recharge, take more mini breaks throughout the day.


Intention setting is positive. This means instead of focusing on the negative, "I want to avoid negative thoughts", use positive values such as "I am patient and confident today."  


Intention setting should also be realistic. On days when you are feeling low, setting intention of "being happy" may not be realistic and authentic. Instead, being "grateful", "calm", or "kind" could be more helpful and achievable (gradual movement along the mood scale).


At the end of the day, it is more important to pay attention to our being (who we are), and acknowledge the tasks completed. We are not our results. Success / failure is just feedback of whether our efforts are in the right direction.


"I demonstrated confidence today. I acknowledge I crunched the numbers but lacked focus in finishing my business plan."

That being said, evaluate constructively if there is anything that can be improved. "What can I do to improve focus tomorrow?"

The next day, you can decide whether to set the same intention again, or change to a different intention to get different results.



We are grieving, together. The thing about grief is that we don't know how long it will take to heal. It is unique to each individual.


Since you are on your own roller coaster ride, how would you choose to respond? Be kind to self. Give love to others.


While fear is present, may we have the hope and strength to do the next right thing, one day at a time. And oh, remember to smile at the camera gracefully, right where the roller coaster drops.


Sidewalk Talk Singapore happens every Saturday 3pm. If you need 1:1 support, reach out to Elle at hello@cottongrassco.com