The rest of the world seems happy and looking forward to the holidays. But those who are grieving the holiday season is met with much anxiousness and apprehension. Memories of past holidays spent with their loved one, memories of lack of holidays they spent with their loved ones and the awareness that there is no more time to make holiday memories causes grievers much heartache.
So how do we get through this holiday season. We cry when we want to cry, we say no to dinners if they will be a trigger, we say yes to dinners if being with others and the same traditions make you feel better. You do anything you need to do to help you cope with the void you are feeling. The only exception to this is I strongly advise you do not abuse drugs or alcohol to try to fill that hole in your heart. That is not processing your grief, that is covering it up and only makes it worse.
Here are some things to take into consideration to help you cope as well as you can given the
grief you are feeling.
- Make some decisions about your family’s holiday traditions.
- Make a list of ones you think you might want to participate in.
- Make a list of those you think you cannot face this year.
- Make a list of traditions you think you maybe, might want to or be able to participate in. This works best if you write it down on paper or type it on your phone, tablet or computer. Writing it down helps clarify thoughts and feelings.
- Think of ways you can honor your beloved in current family traditions.
- Think of new ways to honor your beloved’s memory.
- Decide whether you’d like to involve other family members. It’s ok to include your loved one. You might participate in acts of kindness in their memory, donate to a charity in her name, light a special candle at family meals, place a photo of him in a place of honor, volunteer over the holiday, give small mementos to friends and family that remind them of her.
- Give yourself permission to grieve.
- Give yourself permission to cry.
- Give yourself permission to have pleasure or fun.
- Give yourself permission to laugh if you feel like it.
- Give yourself permission to be flexible.
- Give yourself permission to what you need to do.
- Identify your support system and let them know you may need extra help.
- Have plans A, B, C, D, and so on if you need to.
- Include self-care in your plan–massage, walks, relaxing baths, exercise, sleep.
- Know that it’s ok to not follow your plan or change it anytime you want.
Should you need someone to talk to, or someone to listen, please don’t hesitate to reach out.