Life Happens: how to learn to let go

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I’ve been through a lot in the past few years. Everyone goes through periods of life when the unexpected happens, and we need to learn how to embrace it or it will get a hold of us.


In October of 2012, I lost my beloved husband to cancer and became a widow at the age of 38 with two boys ages 3 and 5. The fight against the cancer was exhausting to say the least, and Stephen’s death was the hardest thing I have had to overcome.


I made a choice. When I first heard of the Stage IV cancer diagnosis, I cried and fell apart. But with Stephen’s help and reminder to rely on God, I tried my best to be strong for him and my boys.


I overcame anorexia back in college, and when things in my life get out of control, I tend to fall back into those unhealthy habits. I know that over-exercising, not eating enough, or bingeing on chocolate will not benefit anyone and will hinder my energy on all levels. But we sabotage ourselves in an attempt to cover those feelings, drown them out with sweat or cover them in candy wrappers.


It’s not as easy as just saying, “Snap out of it.” What I have learned to do is sit in it. I will just sit and cry sometimes so I can feel it. I will journal to get it out instead of suppressing it. And I do a lot of self-talk to stop the destructive behaviors before they do short or, worse yet, long term damage.


When stress gets the best of you, whether a big stress or small stress, make a choice of how you will react. What will help you cope the best? It may be pulling the covers over your head and resting or crying for a few hours. It may be getting your sweat on. Choose to take that stress on, but take care of yourself in the process. Be kind to yourself. Your body, mind, and heart will thank you.


Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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