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This Ritual Will Help You Deal With the Stress of 2020

2020 has been something, huh?

Because of all of the things, we are thrilled to be sharing this guest post from Bernadette Pleasant, the founder of The Emotional Institute, an online resource and educational center that offers courses, workshops, and interactive experiences that provide pathways to cultivate emotional wellbeing and gain insights that bring about a balanced mind/body connection.

Bernadette has spent a lifetime exploring celebrations of the mind and body, from sensual dance to somatic healing. As a woman of color who comes from an esteemed tradition of natural healers, she is recognized as a leader in the mind-body wellness realm.

We had Bernadette on our podcast last year and let me just say that it’s an episode you definitely don’t want to miss (and if you heard it already, it’s worth another listen!). Get it here.

Now, read on for the one ritual Bernadette says we all need to do to not only help deal with all of the stress of 2020, but also how to help us heal our own past wounds so that we can all find true, authentic joy in our lives (even amidst of all of what’s happening). Gosh knows we all need that!

The Grief Ritual That Will Help You Deal With the Stress of 2020

By Bernadette Pleasant

Grief has always been an essential emotion of humanity, in every place and every time. Yet for many of us, there has been an upswell in grief during these trying times. Grief, always there below the surface, has now broken through the veil to the forefront of our consciousness.

Many have experienced the quintessential grief of losing a loved one during this time. We are also struggling with the loss of personal freedom, loneliness, racism, worry of infection, unemployment and business loss — the list is endless.

Frustration compounds grief as many people feel helpless and don’t know how they can make a meaningful difference. Fear, hate, and grief fills the body. There is so much that needs airing, that needs to be felt, heard, seen, and moved through.

In response to the events of 2020, we have created the Grief Ritual. This virtual practice (sign up for it here — it’s free and ongoing) brings us together to hold space for one another as we move through the emotions we are experiencing, from new sorrows triggered by recent events to old grief that is coming to the surface. Whether grief is fresh and raw or has been smoldering for decades, whether it is interpersonal or existential, ecological or ancestral, the Grief Ritual facilitates its expression and release.

Healing begins in community. This embodied, somatic work invites you to access and express emotion in a supportive community. It gives you the safe space to release grief, sorrow, anger, fear, and numbness — a cathartic and deeply transformative experience.

The True Nature of Grief

Grief is natural, normal, and universal. Everyone grieves: for people we’ve lost, life changes, ecological crises, old traumas, ancestral suffering, community challenges, experiences of rupture, disappointment, and existential concerns. We may find ourselves grieving as a result of death, illness or injury, disconnection, estrangement or heartbreak, poverty, racism, or political upheaval. The causations of grief are limitless, like nature, and just as impossible to predict or control.

Yet despite its universality, grief often goes under-expressed in American culture. With a relentless pressure to be “happy” that defies reality, grief is not given its due respect. There are often cultural expectations and limitations defining what we ought to grieve about, how that grief should be expressed and how long it can last — without someone being considered weak, negative or depressed. But grief is not rational, circumscribed, or simple. And if our grief remains unexpressed or unreleased, parts of us stay frozen or stagnant.

When grief is expressed, it can take the form of tears, shaking, rage, vocalization, and movement, or silence, numbness, and despair. The faces and manifestations of grief are multitudinous. But one element is constant: grief must be released and transformed to make space for new energy and new life. This is the inspiration for the Grief Ritual.

By making time to grieve, we acknowledge the depths of feeling that are part of human life. Setting aside time to encounter and express grief allows us to get clear on what might be confusing, and find movement where we might be stuck. We accept ourselves and one another more fully. And we free ourselves to shed the heavy mantle of grief and begin to heal.

Moving through grief helps us reawaken creativity and renew parts of our lives that have gone dormant. We grow in self-love and compassion for others and deepen intimacy in myriad relationships. We find that we can experience life more fully, that we are more dynamically responsive in the here and now. We get clear on what is at the core of our grief, and awaken to ways to heal the pain.

The Power of Ritual

An essential part of our humanity that is often sadly absent in our modern age — especially during the social distancing of the pandemic — is the power of ritual. Older civilizations knew the power of ritual, and it was woven into their culture. This is tragically lost in the bustle of the 21st century, with its emphasis on surface success and screens. Now, quarantining has driven us even further apart. Yet we can be creative, resilient and find ways to come together, safely, even now.

During the Grief Ritual, we come together to express, embody, and release our grief. We hold one another in care and community, whatever and however we may be grieving. Together, we create a safe container for emotion to move through us both as individuals and as a group. We hold space for one another to acknowledge and release the grief, pain, anger, regret, despair, fear, and sadness that we have been carrying — and that weighs us down and prevents us from living fully.

Grieving together helps us discover previously unrecognized and even unknown aspects of our grief. Bearing witness to the grief of others helps us to find more compassion for ourselves as well as people around us. It empowers us to shed our armor and soften, to understand that we are not alone, and to release any shame we might be carrying about our feelings. Supporting and being supported by people who are also committed to accessing and expressing their grief, we find deeper connection and healing, both individually and collectively. –Bernadette Pleasant

Remember, you can sign up for the next Grief Ritual here. And be sure to learn more about The Emotional Institute and Bernadette’s incredible work here. A huge thanks to Bernadette for sharing her wisdom with us! –Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Anju Rai says:

    Well explained.. Stress is so common.. People do need these kind of content.

  2. Trisa says:

    This is a really nice article, Jenn. I am facing stress issues and this really helps. Thanks for sharing, Cheers!

  3. This activity is very helpful for us because through this, we can get rid of stress because many people are facing this issue, and they are worried about it. They should follow these tips and enjoy a good life.

  4. Great article! Thanks!

  5. buy cbn says:

    Hello! Thank you for such a useful article in our time. There really is something to think about. I think that the power of ritual really exists, otherwise why our ancestors did it for many years before us. Because it really helps our mind to manage grief. And considering that this year was tough enough for many of us, some of us lost our relatives due to the pandemic, I think that rituals can really help them, and of course we have to maintain them.

  6. Gulshan says:

    Hi Jenn, Thanks for such an amazing blog post. You covered almost everything in this. I wish I could have read you earlier, I could have saved a ton of emotions. Thanks again.

  7. Very well Explained! Great work!

  8. Fantastic!! you are doing good job! I impressed. Many bodies are follow to you and try to some new.. After read your comments I feel; Its very interesting and every guys sahre with you own works. Great!!

  9. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

  10. Anil Kumar says:

    Great information, this is really helpful for everyone… keep sharing…

  11. Bestpot says:

    Thank you for talking about this. In fact, we all need to understand that it is impossible to always feel happy and inspired. It seems to me that our body itself is not adjusted to this, and if this happens, then it is more likely some kind of disease, and not a norm. Therefore, I urge everyone to let themselves feel the grief and bad feelings. It’s okay to cry or feel overwhelmed. I believe that all emotions should be present in our lives and in no case should they be suppressed and hidden deep within ourselves. It won’t end well. So allow yourself to feel.

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