Oct
16

How to Heal When the Long Siege Finally Ends

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Last time I wrote about my “long siege” trying to settle a very messy estate situation, and how I got through it (mostly) intact.

Now I’d like to share what to do when your “long siege” is over.

Again, your “long siege” might be an illness (your own or a loved one’s, in which you were the caretaker), a divorce, a difficult family situation, or any number of other trials.

For many people, the pandemic and all it entails has been a “long siege” which may or may not be over.

It may feel like any long siege will never end, but it usually does, one way or another.

The time of closure when it does end can be a very rich time of receiving all the gifts from the experience.

It can also be a time of vulnerability.

It’s not uncommon for people to get sick after an especially stressful period, a phenomenon called “the let-down effect.” I was aware of this, and wanted to make sure I don’t get sick now.

(Although I have to say, perhaps God is already helping me in that regard. The very day I knew for sure how things would end with the estate, we took our car into the repair shop. Verdict: we need a new car. So this week was spent on getting that together. But, as a friend put it, “maybe I need new wheels for new adventures.” I like that! And maybe I needed another shorter-term, minor stressor to help me “wind down.”)

So here are some steps I’m taking to provide closure on the “long siege” so I can heal and reclaim my life.

1. Take time to ponder—and celebrate—the lessons. Dr. Mark Virkler says that you know you are healed when you can see the gift in the experience. Looking for the gifts, the lessons, the ways you have grown, can greatly accelerate your recovery.

Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash

2. Process any unhealed emotions and provide closure. Thankfully, I have been “processing” all along—feeling the feelings, asking for prayer, journaling about my experience, and learning the lessons. But now it’s time to consolidate and provide full closure.

This can take the form of some physical act. I’ve decided that I will go through all the estate files and throw away anything that clearly is no longer pertinent, and remove the other files to the basement in case they need to be accessed. I don’t want them in my office. Stephanie Bennett Vogt calls clutter “stuck energy.” I don’t want to have that energy of what I went through in any space that is about moving forward.

You might do something else to process and provide closure. Writing a letter to someone and burning it might be one ritual, if your “long siege” involved a painful relationship that’s ended. Doing something physical and symbolic works wonders. I had to block certain people from calling me. This did not feel good. However, it felt necessary; all they want to do is continue the abuse.

Intentionally seeking closure will allow you to be transition smoothly, and open you up to new beginnings. I’m so ready for that, as I’ve had some great ideas brewing for so long!

3. Listen to and take care of your body. As I mentioned, after a stressful period is often when people get sick. Your immune and nervous systems have been revved up to deal with the siege.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Now your body needs some extra TLC, especially if you’ve been ignoring its signals.

Go to bed earlier, take more time to rest. Lover your body by providing it good nutrition. Exercising in short, intense bursts is best, with rest in between. The bursts get the stress out of the body that may be stuck, and the rest allows you to assimilate.

Drink plenty of water. As you focus on healing, your body will be releasing toxins built up from the emotions of your stressful period. Flush them away. Taking baths with essential oils and Epsom salts will also help.

If you do experience a flare-up of old symptoms, ask your body what it’s trying to say. Heed the message.

4. Slow down. Literally. You need to re-calibrate your nervous system and immune system, which have been used to being revved up all the time. It’s imperative to change that now.

This involves listening to your body, yes. It also helps to intentionally do as many things as possible more slowly and deliberately.

Walk more slowly. Chew more slowly. Breathe more slowly and deeply.

Speak more slowly.

This slowing down has, frankly, been one of the hardest changes for me to make. But I feel it’s the step that came from God. When I announced to my husband that I would be doing things more slowly, he almost broke out in applause. Throughout the siege, he kept complaining that I talked too fast. Yes, that’s what I do when stressed.

Now, post-siege, I am consciously taking time to speak more slowly, look at him, and listen better. When stressed, I tend to be half listening, half engaged with the “next thing” I have to be doing. Slowing down everything is the way to break this bad habit.

5. Make your healing work priority. If you’ve been doing this during the stressful period, don’t let up now! In fact, you might want to double down, especially in the first three days, which is the window of most vulnerability to the let-down effect. If you’re doing Healing Codes twice a day, for instance, add a little more time to the sessions, or add another brief HC session.

As you have been processing in order to bring closure, and listening to the messages from your body, use The Healing Codes and prayer to address the issues that have come up, especially if you haven’t been able to do that during your siege.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

6. Reconnect with joy, and your values. You may have jettisoned a lot of pleasures and even compromised your own values to get through your siege. Refocusing on what gives you joy, and recommitting to your own values will center you again in who you are.

If you’ve become distant from God during your trial, ask Him to open your eyes to the graces that I know he gives. (My book, Abundant Gifts, and the practice of keeping a “gifts journal” can really help here.)

7. Reconnect also with healthy relationships. During a long siege, you might have lost touch with people who were important to you. Now is the time to rekindle those relationships. We’re never meant to go it alone.

8. Take time to catch up on all the things you’ve neglected. Clear some clutter. (I cleaned off my desk top and found an uncashed check for $227 from 5 months ago! Shows how long I’ve been neglecting my office, but also that when you do clear the clutter, something good can happen!)

I’m still working on my list of neglected personal and household projectsslowly of course. Savoring each little task completed enhances the “finally it’s over!” celebratory energy. So don’t just complete the long-neglected tasks—celebrate that that too is finally completed!

9. Consciously create your “new normal”–and guard it fiercely. I am even making a list of things I now refuse to do, based on the lessons learned during the siege.

  • I will no longer allow myself to be drawn into anyone else’s “Dreaded Drama Triangle.” (Seeing this pattern has been one of the biggest gifts of my trial.)

  • I will continue to make my healing work, listening to my body, prayer and key healthy relationships a priority.

  • I will continue to slow down and savor.

  • I will continue to remove on a regular basis all clutter (emotional, physical, relational, mental), and seek at all times to Align with my Divine DesignTM by listening to God and choosing to focus on only my Clear Next Step.

I hope these tips have been or will be helpful to you. Pass this on to a friend who is ending a long siege. Or point them to the Part One article, on getting through. Bookmark the link for future reference. L9ng sieges certainly stretch you, but they need not crush you.

And if you would like some personalized help either in getting through a “long siege,” or recovering from one, check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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