Healing After a Rough Year


healing and self-care

2016 was a rough year (and not only because The Donald will be POTUS). I will go as far to say that 2016 was the worst year of my life. I have been slow to recover from the life shattering events that happened to me this past year. I’m starting this blog as a way to explore my health, life, and passions. To be healthier and happier in 2017, I am sharing my goals to make this happen. We all deserve to be treated and treat ourselves with kindness, and here’s to 2017 in making this happen.

2016 Sucked…

To give some background on why 2016 was so terrible, I’ll start with where I was in life going into 2016. I had just signed a job offer as an engineer with GE to move to Pittsburgh, only had one semester left of graduate school, and was with the love of my life. Besides the bouts of depression and anxiety I regularly faced, life was pretty good!

I was pretty terrified of heading into a long distance relationship. While I knew I wanted to spend my life with this person, it was scary to think about spending the next 6ish years apart. And after that…where would we end up and what sacrifices was I going to have to make? I really wanted to make it work though. I knew we could.

Then Everything Crumbled…

On March 23rd, 2016, I had just gotten home from spring break, when I received a phone call that my mother had passed away. While my mom and I didn’t have the best relationship, I loved her with my whole heart. Her passing shattered me to pieces. I missed all my classes for the next month. The task of getting out of bed seemed impossible and speaking with anyone was not happening, including my boyfriend. I just wanted to die.

Eventually, I made the decision to end things with my boyfriend at the time. It was devastating to me, but I felt I wasn’t emotionally stable to move through the next stages of life and make an LDR work. Completely overwhelmed and confused by emotions, I was still stuck in bed, failing my classes, and heartbroken. I strongly contemplated suicide. Before I could act on this, I went to my counselor and we made the decision to check me into the ER to keep me safe.

After leaving, I worked with my professors to help me finish the semester, so that I could graduate. I took incomplete grades, which allowed me extra time to finish the class work. At this time I also found out that the Pittsburgh plant where I was supposed to begin working was being closed. My life felt like a complete joke.

In the end, I finished (and passed) all my classes by July and moved me to Salem, VA for GE instead, to begin work. By some miracle (and lots of amazing friends and family), I made it to where I am today. I currently am at an amazing job where I have some of the greatest co-workers, have discovered a passion for the outdoors, and am excited about my future.

I have a pretty cool job #ge #generalelectric #work #Edison #engineer #engineering

A photo posted by Cassie (@cassie_arenz) on

The Road to Healing

9 months later though, I am still struggling to heal. Generally I consider myself happy, but I still have dark clouds over my head. I am still destroyed by my breakup and regret it regularly, I ache for my mom and am saddened to think of the big life events she will not be there for, and I sometimes hate myself for the decisions I’ve made and the person I am.

So this is where I am and I have finally made the decision to get better. Join me and we can start to live a life of peace and happiness!

1. Find a counselor

I don’t think anyone is above counseling and I recommend it to everyone at some point in their life (we all have problems). It’s a wonderful way to sort out your thoughts and feelings to a very unbiased source. While I did see a counselor a few times when I first moved, I didn’t feel it clicked (plus some insurance issues), but I never took the time to seek a new one. The first thing I want to do is set up an appointment for the first couple weeks of the new year to find someone who will help me through this grieving process.

2. Get Healthy

In the past few years (primarily in graduate school) I put on about 25 pounds. While I started to eat healthy and workout after the move, none of the weight has seemed to come off. This is hard for me because, while I am comfortable in my skin, I see the extra weight as reminders of the pain that I have endured. I want to be good to my body and get healthy again.

Prepping my meals on a weekly basis and limiting my eating out to twice a week will be key. In addition to a healthier diet, I also want to formulate a better workout plan. Stay tuned for the deets, but, I would like it to consist of cardio (bike, running, jump rope) 5 days a week, lifting 3 days a week, climbing 3 days a week, and yoga 5 days a week. I have found happiness when I work toward doing new things. For me the weight won’t matter as much if I’m achieving the goals I set out.

night bouldering

3. Write More

Both here and for myself. Even though I’m not the greatest writer and it has never been my favorite activity, I have formed an appreciation for the art of writing. It allows me to process my emotions in a way that talking can’t. Hopefully, this blog will serve as a sort of journal of the cool things I get to explore and the things I learn along the way.

4. Read More

Reading has always been a love of mine, but college really allowed no time for fun reading. Next year, I would like to rediscover this love by spending at least a half hour reading every night before bed.

5. Talk More

I am horrible at staying in contact with people. I have friends and family all over the country and I rarely take the time to say hi. Relationships are important and I want to do a better job at showing the people in my life that I care. So with this I want to try to call 2 people a week just to see how they are doing and keep in touch.

6. Volunteer

For me, I find that I am kindest to myself when I am helping others. I volunteered on a regular basis in high school and college and would like to find an organization I am passionate about where I can volunteer at least 1-2 times a month. I will keep you posted on the organization I choose!

7. Reduce Social Media

Social media is a wonderful tool because it allows me to keep up with friends and family around the world. I also have a slight addiction. In order to live more purposefully in my interaction with people, I have already taken the step to deactivate my Facebook and Snapchat. This might not be permanent, but for now I want to take time enjoying the moment and not other people’s.

*Note: I am keeping Twitter and Instagram as I would still enjoy some interaction with my long distance friends, but I don’t spend nearly as much time on these to social media platforms.

8. Speak Kindly

Lastly, my goal is to speak kindly to myself. Generally, I am a confident person, but I still fear that I am annoying or disliked by others and can speak quite harshly to myself saying I’m stupid, unlovable, a wreck, etc. While I’m not perfect, I have many great qualities and need to be adamant about telling myself the things I do like about myself. To achieve this resolution, I will write 3 kind things about myself in my journal every day.

Again, I am so grateful to the people that have helped me through this hard time. I would not be here without them. I’m hoping that by taking more time for myself and spending more time connecting with people who matter I will live more purposeful life. I encourage you to look at your life and list some of the ways you want to be kind to yourself in 2017. Purposeful and smart New Year’s Resolutions.

Do you have any recommendations for grief and healing? Do you have any resolutions for the new year?

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