Joining a Fitness Community Helped Me During a Difficult Time

In the spring of 2016, I was lost in a season of grief. The previous year, I lost my grandparents unexpectedly, one right after the other. I had just finished months of grief counseling and knew I had a tough road ahead. Most days, I found myself riddled with anxiety and trying to adapt to my new reality. Amidst the chaos, I desperately wanted to find ways to take care of my body and mind.

The hardest part about grieving is that it’s an individualized and unique journey. Grieving forced me to feel siloed and alone. I learned to accept that there were certain aspects of grief that I would have to navigate on my own, but I craved a sense of belonging at the same time. I knew I needed a support system to help me heal. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a fitness community that altered the course of my journey for the better.

I was never much of an exercise enthusiast. The mere idea of exercising, let alone in a structured group setting, was not an idea that often crossed my mind. While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post from my local Pure Barre studio about an upcoming open house. All classes were free during the open house, and even though group exercise classes had never appealed to me before, I was intrigued by …

A Photographer Has Spent 20 Years Documenting Stillbirths

Stillbirth affects about one in 100 pregnancies in the United States, which means that about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. every year. The cause is often unknown. Hochberg has photographed 500 or 600 families, including those whose infant died shortly after birth as well as those who lost an older child. He presents each family with an album with dozens of photos, sometimes as many as 130.

In the early 2000s, Hochberg left a corporate photography job to pursue what he calls “bereavement photography” full-time. He doesn’t charge the families. Some of the hospitals he works with have found grants to fund his work. Otherwise, he relies on donations. “It’s nowhere near what I made as a corporate photographer,” he says. “It’s certainly my life’s work at this point. I don’t see myself doing anything else.”

Documenting Stillbirths:

Grief Café to help those struggling with loss

“The Grief Café is an opportunity for anyone struggling with loss in their life, loss and sadness and bereavement,” said organizer Cynthia Breadner.

The first session will be on Feb. 23, and Breadner said she is planning on running them twice a month in drop-in style.

“It’s an opportunity to verbalize or bring to the forefront, in a safe environment and with permission, to focus some light on whatever that grief is,” Breadner said.

When one thinks of grief, it’s often associated with the death of a loved one. But there are several ways someone can experience grief, such as the death of a pet, the loss of a relationship and life-threatening illness, Breadner said.

Can Snapchat ‘Hear for you’ help troubled teens?

Snapchat has announced a new feature called “Here For You” that promises to “provide proactive in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis”. The popular youth-oriented app is the latest to join a wave of social media platforms setting out to monitor and …

On Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, users can block or report material, and Facebook also provides resources for users to engage directly with other users about their posts. These platforms, along with Pinterest, also deploy artificial intelligence to identify and ban content that may be viewed as harmful.

Facebook and Pinterest have also introduced more proactive measures, attempting to provide resources to users they view as being at risk for mental health concerns.

Understanding Grief

by Rich Nilsen

“Grief only comes in one size, extra large.” — Dennis Manning

If grief can be summed up in a nutshell, it is how we feel now that an important person is no longer in our life. In essence, we hurt and feel sorry for ourselves. Our focus is usually on what WE lost. Grief, of course, is a normal reaction to the loss of someone or something. Each of us will handle these feelings in our own way and in our own time. There is no blueprint to the process and no timetable to how long you will hurt.


Author J. William Worden describes four facets of mourning:

1 – Accepting the reality of the loss

2 – Experiencing the pain of grief

3 – Adjusting to an environment without the lost loved one

4 – Reinvesting emotional energy in life


Having been through the complete grief process, I can relate to each of these “steps.” Accepting the loss almost immediately helped me move on with my mourning quicker, although it didn’t make anything easier.

I cannot help you acknowledge the reality of your loss. Only you can do that, and hopefully you are well past that stage by the time you receive this book.

Sometimes, intense feelings of grief will catch us by surprise. It may startle you when you fall “into the pits” several months after the tragedy. It is at this time that many people will be expecting you to be over your loss. Don’t believe them. It is only normal for this to happen. Just remember your grief is unique. No one else is just like you. No one else had the same relationship with the person who died.

Understand that a main purpose of grief is to help you reach the point in your life when you can remember without the pain.

What I present later in this guide are several steps to help you get through the grieving process in a positive way.


5 Steps To Healing After You Break Up With A Friend

Breakups hurt worse with friends. She was your best friend, your sister from a different mister. She was supposed to be your friend until the end. She played a huge role in your life. Whenever something big happened, whether […]

3. Talk to someone trustworthy.

Find an outlet to express your emotions regarding your friendship breakup. A professional therapist would be great, but not everyone can afford or make the time for one. Talking to a trustworthy loved one who gives great advice is a great second choice.

Even writing how you feel in a journal is beneficial as well. The point is, you need to express how you’re feeling and not allow it to bottle up inside of you. The process of healing requires you to be aware and transparent about your emotions.

She Lost Her Brother in Iraq. To Heal, She Did This

On April 29, 2007, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Travis Manion died in combat in Anbar province near Fallujah.

“My brother’s death changed me,” said the 40-year-old Doylestown native. With her family, she launched The Travis Manion Foundation, run by her mother, Janet. The nonprofit offers support and leadership programs to veterans and relatives of fallen veterans, providing opportunities to connect, build relationships and work together on service projects.

When her mother died of cancer in April 2012, Manion took over the foundation’s operation. She trained for and ran marathons to raise money to support it while trying to build her own identity as a “tough, capable, resilient woman. For a long time, I had lied to myself about how happy and fulfilled I felt.”

In truth, she had begun having panic attacks, had become too terrified to drive, and wouldn’t venture more than 10 miles from the home she shared with her husband and children.

“I had started smoking again,” she said, “crying in the shower, and regularly feeling seized by anxiety.”

That Christmas, she retreated to her bedroom and began hyperventilating. It was time to admit she was not OK.

Finally, she sought the help of a therapist. The diagnosis — post-traumatic stress disorder — outraged her. To vent, she called Amy Looney Heffernan, who had been married to her brother’s best friend, Brendan Looney, a U.S. Navy SEAL who died in combat in 2010.

“Can you believe that s—?” Manion barked at Heffernan. “I don’t have PTSD!”

“That’s OK,” Heffernan replied. “My therapist told me the same thing.”

Thus began many conversations between Manion and Heffernan about grief, loss and healing. They were joined by Heather Kelly, whose Marine husband, Robert Kelly, was killed in combat in 2010.

When living with grief, avoid these people

I keep my radar out at all times, even seven years later. Actually, people with long-term grief need to keep their guard up forever. Being in the company of negativity is unhealthy.

There are people who feed on emotional problems and turmoil. They seem to enjoy other people’s unhappiness and conflict, and often create or add to it. This could be a neighbor or someone you’ve known for years through a church or group you attend and otherwise enjoy. Listening to a constant barrage of “ain’t it awful” and criticism is a drag on your spirit.

Just be alert and protect yourself. Sometimes such people latch on to the bereaved, the divorced, or people with other life challenges. Just cut them off. It’s like mentally drawing down a shade or creating a mental barrier. Don’t talk or spend time with them. Find something else to do…


How You Can Help Those Who Are Hurting

They Need You More Than They Need Your Words

Not sure how to help others who are hurting? You aren’t alone. Most people want to help but don’t know how. For some, reaching out to someone in crisis is scary because you don’t want to say or do the wrong thing, but yet others might over-involve themselves in someone else’s pain, making things more difficult. Following are some tips to remember, that if used, will guide your help so that it is actually helpful to others who may be facing adversity.

The Road to Recovery – click here

Listen More Than You Speak

Remember listening can be more powerful than the words you share with others. It is natural to want to fill the void of pain or confusion or grief with words, activity, and other forms of “helping.” But often what a sufferer most needs is for you to be present to whatever he or she is experiencing in the moment. If she’s sad, reflect that sadness. If he’s confused, let him know you understand…

Coping After A Miscarriage

10 Quotes To Help Cope

“I Carried You Every Second Of Your Life, And I’ll Love You every Second Of Mine.” – Unknown

Grief Help logoNo matter what anyone says, you don’t have to just get over it. It’s ok to grieve and it’s ok to hold onto the memory of the life you miss.

Miscarriages have a way of changing a woman, and the impact left over from the experience is something you will and are allowed to carry for the rest of your life. Just because they are gone, the thoughts of what could have been are not, and that is perfectly fine. Allow yourself to love and honor that little life that could have been.

“You Are Not Broken. You Did Nothing Wrong. You Are Strong, You Are Brave, And There Is Hope.” – Ashley Williams

It’s natural to have feelings of guilt after a miscarriage. But you can drive yourself insane with all the thoughts of what you could have done differently or changed. But those thoughts just are not fair to you or to the life you lost. You did everything right, you took your prenatals, and you nourished that little baby more than anyone could have asked. Unfortunately, things just weren’t in the stars this time. But when you’re ready, you are strong and brave enough to face the world and be alright.