How to cope in the hardest of circumstances

As I sit down to write my first proper newsletter after losing my beloved husband, I do so with enormous thanks for the unbelievable love, support and check ins that this community, along with my family and friends, has given me ❤️

It has, and continues to be, a time of incredible emotion.

Losing the love of my life; the person who bore witness to me, was entwined with my purpose, and who mirrored my unconditional love, has taken me to many places.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve experienced a world of pain, sadness, disbelief, anger and dejection.

But there have also been moments when I’ve felt sincere gratitude, seen chinks of light, and marvelled at the extraordinary kindness of people as I traverse this journey I never wanted to be on.

As I continue to navigate the path of grief and its roller coaster of emotions, I’ve had many people question how I’m doing it and how I’m able to cope?

What I tell them is what I wanted to share with you today, in case you are having, or might one day face a particularly hard time in any capacity.

Firstly, to be clear, some days I don’t cope!

Some days and weeks the tears flow and I feel overwhelmed with the loss of Jeremy, the man who was simultaneously my anchor, my soul mate and my home.  

But on all days, particularly those ones, I keep coming back to something that one of my amazing clients wrote to me when I’d originally shared Jeremy’s terminal cancer diagnosis.

This one line has been my source of stability, even on the darkest of days:

“Please look after yourself – this is the best example of leadership!” 

On first read this might seem strange.

Leadership was undoubtedly the last thing on my mind as I tried to wrap my head and heart around what was happening, but the truth in the sentiment touched my soul and it wouldn’t let go.


Perhaps it’s because I wanted to be a rock for Jeremy to the very end. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to be a source of strength and dependability for his grown-up children. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to make Jeremy’s last days about me and my pending loss. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to lean into the thing Jeremy loved most about me: my positivity. Or perhaps it’s because I knew I would return to work and that sharing my experience and learnings to help others might actually prove a life-saver for me.

Maybe it was a mix of some or all of these things, but the idea that self-care is the ultimate form of leadership embedded itself in my psyche and has guided my choices and responses ever since.

It has kept me going and putting one foot in front of the other when the world has felt like it might collapse in on me.

What does this look like in real terms?

For me, there are several things that create physical, mental and emotional calm, strengthen me, and enable me to draw on all of my resources, particularly in times of extreme need.

The categories and details will differ for each person, but my list includes:

  • Movement – I have to move my body every day in a way that feels good, which might mean swimming, walking, hiking or doing a natural movement session with my trainer
  • Evening and Morning Routines – being early to bed and early to rise, and no phone at bedtime (which will always be a challenge!)
  • Nutrition – nourishing my body with the right kinds of food, and as Jeremy was our chef, it means I’m now having to learn how to cook (I have surprised myself a few times to date!)
  • Nature – spending quiet time outdoors relishing the peace and rejuvenating power of mother nature
  • Spirituality – connecting to my belief system, and indulging in related learning and practices like hypnotherapy and tarot
  • Connection – spending quality time with my closest family and friends, creating special memories and shared experiences
  • Challenge – saying YES to activities and goals that aid my personal development and growth, and stretch what I think I’m capable of

Every day I am choosing to do a number of these things in a bid to serve myself and help myself cope.

While it doesn’t remove the pain and the inevitable waves of grief, it enables me to get up, face each day, find pockets of hope, laughter and joy, and take incremental steps towards a future I can’t yet picture.

It’s helping me not just to survive, but to live.

So whatever is going on in your own life, and whether or not you’re navigating very tough things, what I have learnt is this:

Indulging in self-care practices is like saying a life-affirming YES to yourself and your own wellbeing. 

It’s a tonic for the heart, mind and spirit, and it will only ever support and enhance your life 💫

Alison x

P.S. Moritz, this newsletter comes with the most heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your insight and timely guidance!! You have helped more than you know 🙏

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